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The voice of AQE and the GBA

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and Professor Tony Gallagher were interviewed on BBC Good Morning Ulster after the first of the five unregulated tests to determine entry into grammar school in Northern Ireland.

Tony Gallagher

The problem rather than the solution?

What they failed to admit during the interview were a number of important points for parents.

The AQE developed their CEA tests and offered them as a common exam for all grammar schools. This was rejected by the Catholic Voluntary grammar schools who set up an arrangement with GL Assessment thereby creating the necessity for pupils to take up to five tests.

  • Sir Kenneth Bloomfield’s school, Inst, is a member of the Governing Bodies Association, an organisation claiming to be the representative body for all voluntary grammar schools.  Sir Kenneth Bloomfield has been a spokesperson for the GBA on many occasions. Yet GBA schools operate two separate exam systems. Parents will naturally wonder which of the two testing systems is better since they cannot be the same.
  •  Sir Kenneth told BBC listeners that negotiations were ongoing to agree one common test for next year. He neglected to inform listeners that members of the GBA were split deliberately in order that two tests were imposed upon the very pupils that AQE and GBA claim to be concerned about.
  • Tony Gallagher cited his concern over those not entered for the entrance exams. For someone charged with responsibility for the School of Education at Queen’s University perhaps he should have considered the possibility that their parents were actually content with the choice for a secondary school. PACE have previously highlighted Professor Gallagher’s contradictory position on academic selection and in particular (s)election at 14, the latest phase in the plan to impose comprehensive schools in Northern Ireland.
  • Tony Gallagher once again attempted to blame politicians for their failure to implement his advice to government. Perhaps the politicians should use their powers to examine Professor Gallagher to the same level of scrutiny as the unregulated tests given his anti-selection background and contradictory advice.