11-plus, Admission to grammar school, Alliance Party, AQE, AQE tests, DENI, DUP, GL Assessment 11-plus tests, post primary transfer, Professor Tony Gallagher, school transfer arrangements, SDLP, Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionist Party
Alliance Party, Caitriona Ruane, Democratic Unionist Party, Department of Education Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Assembly, Northern Ireland Executive, Peter Robinson., SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party
The Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, has proposed a change to the decision making process of the Stormont Executive.
When applied to the blocked decision of the Education Minister to end academic selection the consequences of Robinson’s folly become apparent. Three parties represented in the current Executive, Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionist/Conservative are all opposed to academic selection at 11. If Policing and Justice were devolved it would mean the Alliance Party would join the Executive and add their anti-academic selection position to the mix. Mr Robinson’s DUP could loudly claim that the ending of academic selection at 11 was not their fault and that the decision was a positive example of the ending of “party political point-scoring over good government”.
“I am concerned that the failure of the Executive to take certain decisions is taking a toll on the Executive’s credibility with the public.”
Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland First Minister and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Mr Robinson’s use of irony is matched only by the Education Minister’s claims to value equality. Both have now adopted the equality of result or outcome model. A Marxist system which typifies the DUP -Sinn Fein coalition. It is little wonder that parents and pupils have fallen victim to the political mismanagement of the mandatory coalition in order to preserve the greedy self-interests of a failed political system.
Mr D Bradley: ……We know from the chief inspector’s report — which was debated earlier today — that many post-primary schools, particularly in the non-selective sector, are continuing to feel the effects of demographic decline. Enrolment figures have dropped by almost 4,000, and more than one third of schools have fewer than 500 pupils, which is potentially disastrous. Demographic decline is going to worsen over the next few years, which will lead to unplanned outcomes in the form of school closures in some areas. We need to act now before that situation occurs.
Perhaps Mr Bradley MLA should study the Quarterly Report of the Registrar General before parroting the mantra of the DENI on their outdated rationale for schools estate change. The birth rate in Northern Ireland can be easily followed in the graph below.
Anarchy, almost by definition, is never intentional.
Perhaps that explains the current mess that masquerades as a policy for post-primary transfer.
The education minister abolished the 11-Plus. But the grammar schools have brought it back. The minister warned of dire legal consequences, the non-denominational grammars said “so sue me”.
Jim Fitzpatrick of the BBC Northern Ireland Politics Show team highlights one example of the political nonsense talked by the SDLP.
In a remarkable display of principle before political ambition, Mark Durkan even stood up in the assembly to back the minister and criticise the first Catholic school to opt for testing – Lumen Christi in his own constituency. With all Catholic grammars now following suit, which political party speaks for them?
There are over 27,000 pupils attending Catholic grammar schools. Have they been effectively disenfranchised or is this just another stage in the choreography surrounding post-primary education?
to secure an accurate and complete response from Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane to a question about costs for the CCEA Pupil Profile rumbles on.
In an earlier posting about the cost of the Pupil Profile the Assembly question posed by Tommy Gallagher of the SDLP was highlighted.
The Belfast Newsletter published an article by political editor, Stephen Dempster in which the DENI claim the revised cost to be around £500,000 Costs of Pupil Profile Newsletter
Unfortunately this does not gel with figures provided by the organisation responsible for the project, CCEA.
Mr Gallagher has been contacted by telephone at his local office , the Northern Ireland Assembly and by e-mail yet remains silent. *see update
Perhaps he is now aware of his role while a member of the Education Committee in oversight of initatives and projects such as the Pupil Profile, including the expenditure of public funds.
Mr Gallagher made contact with PACE and made available copy of a letter received from the Minister citing her latest figures. Unfortunately the figures do not add up again.
The Governing Bodies Association of Northern Ireland’s voluntary grammar schools are an organisation in disarray.meltdown.
The following extracts have been taken from notes of a meeting of the GBA Executive held on 18th January 2008. Events subsequent to that meeting which raise questions about the resolve of the Governors of Grammar Schools to preserve academic selection at 11 as a criteria for admission. The Pupil Profile, much loved by the GBA and Wilfred Mulryne, has met the outcome predicted by PACE years ago. Yet Mulryne continues to exact influence on the future of grammar schools in much the same way he did on the revised curriculum, the early years enriched curriculum and the Pupil Profile.
2009 may be the year to kiss the Mulryne influence goodbye.
RHL: He suggested it was pointless to try to cobble up some form of words or find some phrase that would enable the pretence to be maintained that there was consensus or unanimity when patently that was not the case. He also suggested that it could be significant that in recent weeks and months the words “pupil profile” appeared to have been deleted from the vocabulary of the Minister and her senior officials. Was it not fatuous to think that the Dept could be persuaded to modify the pupil profile to such an extent that it would become a reliable indicator of a pupil’s abilities? In any event why should the GBA continue to believe that the pupil profile could be used as an instrument to match pupils to schools when the Dept itself declared that it was unsuitable for this purpose?
Sir Kenneth Bloomfield He acknowledged that it was extremely difficult to reach a consensus but there was a real danger of accepting what was simply the lowest common denominator. The GBA’s previous policy document with its requirement for a genuinely robust pupil profile and provision for a receiving school not to accept any pupil clearly unsuited to the curriculum on offer were the very minimum acceptable criteria.
Dr Mulryne replied that this was not exactly the case. It should be remembered that initially it was proposed that the receiving school would not be entitled to see the pupil profile but this position had been changed as a result of representations by the GBA. Moreover the pupil profile as now envisaged would contain objective assessments of a pupil’s abilities, eg reading age.
Fr Patrick Delargy agreed. They should leave the Dept with what had already been submitted last year. No response had been forthcoming to that document. To forward another now might be seen as a watering down of the GBA’s position. At this stage the new paper should be considered as a basis for healthy internal debate.
The suggestions of Sir Anthony and Fr Delargy were agreed.
Executive officers are to meet Dept officials on Tue Jan 22 at 8-30am.
There can be no doubt for parents that the subsequent proposals from Mulryne, Young and Donaghy were hatched well in advanced by the core architects of the GBA retreat away from academic selection.
A footnote on “lobbying activity” reveals some possible explanation of the DUP mirroring the GBA position.
At the start of the meeting Sir Gerry Loughran reported on a meeting which he and others had had with Mr Dominic Bradley of the SDLP. He said Mr Bradley had been “very open to our thinking” but was a supporter of the proposed ESA. It was essential to pursue other MLA’s to get the GBA’s position established in their thinking. Efforts were now being made to die down appointments with Mr Sammy Wilson and Mr Basil McCrea