Slugger O'Toole

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“will be different depending on where you live..”

Tue 4 March 2008, 6:27pm

We’ll have to wait for the actual detail, but for now the most obvious difference between George Bain’s recommendations and the Northern Ireland Education minister’s announcement would be the specification of local areas. Whilst Bain recommended – the report was published in December 2006

16. Local areas should comprise coherent sets of nursery, primary and post-primary schools, and, as appropriate, special schools, as well as accessible further education provision, and as far as possible lie within a single local council’s boundaries.

The minister reportedly proposes

A central group and five area groups are being set up to bring forward proposals on the future of education after the end of the 11-plus this year.

Where that leaves the other elements of the Education system, such as the Education and Skills Authority, is not clear. Adds According to this report – “The Educational Skills Authority, which will be established in 2009, will be tasked to deliver restructuring at all levels of the school system from pre-school to post primary. The work of the six bodies in the interim will identity the structural change required.” Update Official statement hereAs Bain also recommended

13. Until the Education and Skills Authority has acquired the capacity to exercise its estate planning function, the Department of Education should act quickly and decisively to take forward area-based planning as soon as possible in the year 2007, with the full support of the relevant education authorities.

14. The Department of Education should establish a provisional timetable, to be refined and taken forward by the Education and Skills Authority, specifying target dates for the following key steps in setting up and implementing the area-based planning strategy: (a) the Department of Education’s strategic framework of vision, policy, principles, and guidelines; (b) the specification of local areas; (c) the review of local provision; (d) the initiation and conclusion of local planning; (e) the submission of area proposals to the Education and Skills Authority; (f) the finalised and approved area plans; and (g) the implementation of individual plans for the estate as a whole.

15. Future school building projects should be approved only after area-based planning is established, and previously announced capital projects that are currently underway should be reviewed, according to their stage of development, for their consistency with the area-based approach. [added emphasis]

Also of interest is the reported proposed provisional timetable, which Bain also recommended.

She hopes that a new system can begin to be established in April 2009.

However, full area-based plans covering pre-school, primary and post-primary on the model outlined are not expected to be in place until 2010 at the earliest.

As Mick noted previously

Consider Ed Balls proposed legislation to provide education for all up 18. However controversial the legislation, the timelines are clear. No change for 17 years olds until 2013, and none for 18 year olds until 2015.

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Comments (27)

  1. steve48 says:

    Which leaves the question of selection/election up in the air with the Minister able to pass the buck to these committees and away from the assembly.

    I also have to question the involvement of “experts” from the Republic of Ireland in the process.

    It seems Ruane has got one over on the Unionists with this and an easy batting away of concerns about transferors.

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  2. saveus says:

    Please Gerry/Martin whoever!!! just fucking sack her and give us someone competant, how can you not see the damage she is doing to the credibilty of republicans across Ireland and more importantly the absolute fuck up she is making of the education system in the north

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  3. Steven says:

    We had to wait so long for the Education Minister to say that selection will be based on location, basically a postcode lottery!!

    Were we live will not declare the future for our children’s education??

    Ruane is an embarrassment to the NI Executive and surely her performance to date must be an embarrassment to SF.

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  4. Twinbrook says:

    no selection at all…

    middle class dominance through grammar schools must be ended.

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  5. nmc says:

    I have yet to decide whether or not she is making a pigs ear of the NI education system, but I do believe that the 11 + was the wrong way of doing things, and am happy to see it go. Aside from that I go along wholeheartedly with saveus. She’s an embarrasment, and the degree of arrogance she has displayed up to the present is staggering. One of the truly rare occassions when I’ve had cause to agree with Sammy Wilson.

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  6. 0b101010 says:

    Twinbrook, academic selection by definition means that eligibility for grammar schools is based on ability, not class. You just have to want it. An education system that differs according to locality, as Ruane proposes, can only introduce a class-based system based on where you happen to live. It’s a horrific idea.

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  7. Shore Road Resident says:

    Don’t knock it.
    That silly cow just put the value of my house up £50k.

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  8. Twinbrook says:

    Just look at the family backgrounds of the majority of those who go to Grammar schools….

    surely all the “SMART” people don`t come from MIDDLE CLASS backgrounds!

    Grammar schools are elitist and discriminatory against those from less well off backgrounds…

    And this is perpetrated further by the 11+

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  9. Shore Road Resident says:

    Only someone with a massive chip on their shoulder would confuse “smart” with “academic”, and ascribing the whole thing to class is ironically very middle class. Like Catriona Ruane.

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  10. joeCanuck says:

    Perhaps it depends on where you live, Twinbrook. In the Grammar school I went to in the early 60s, at least 3/4 of us were solid working class.

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  11. Twinbrook says:

    Joe changed times….

    there is a proven class and academic gulf between grammar and high/secondary…and this is something which should frighten everyone….

    do we want to continue with a 2 tier elitist system which segregates not only by ability but by class and family income?

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  12. saveus says:

    Twinklebrook you are kind of missing the point, what Catriona’s cunning plan will do is perpetuate a two tier education system, it might even become a three tier system, what impact will it have in areas like West Belfast or the Shankill?? Diddly fucking squat. The good things about big Ian going is that it might bring the whole lot down, I prefer bad British rule to bad Irish rule, if it survives there will have to be a reshuffle and hopefully Catriona will be made junior minister of something or other and take her advisors with her!!

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  13. DM says:

    Twinbrook, I went to a grammar and it certainly wasn’t because of my paarents’ income. I was educated with people who had their own cars the moment they got their provisional, and people who came from some of the roughest estates in Belfast, and I’m bloody glad of it.

    If you want to champion an educational cause, try the abolition of fees for third level education,. somewhere the government really does get the boot in.

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  14. Garibaldy says:

    This is outrageous on so many levels. It’s another way to avoid making a decision. It’s evidence the minister in charge has absoltely no stragetic vision whatsoever. And it’s been buried under he Paisley avalanche. I find the idea that there will be locally different versions ridiculous. So much for equality of opportunity. Depressing at so many levels. The Provos are responsible for a whole lot, but handing over the educations system to Ruane is disastrous.

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  15. 0b101010 says:

    Twinbrook: my primary school was in a decidedly working class area — wedged right between two large estates — but a large proportion of my classmates passed their 11+ and transferred to grammar schools. Some didn’t take the tests at all and some decided to attend the local high school, with a particularly poor reputation, regardless of the outcome. To this day this confounds me.

    There was, and is, nothing preventing those with academic ability from attending grammar schools. Crude concepts of class have nothing to do with it.

    The worst obstacles to education appear to be misinformed preconceptions, peer pressure and an apparent pride in a lack of academic achievement passed down generations.

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  16. joeCanuck says:

    apparent pride in a lack of academic achievement passed down generations.

    And then Mackies closed, and the shipyard etc.

    Education is the most powerful tool we have to change the world – Nelson Mandela.

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  17. gram says:

    >>There was, and is, nothing preventing those with academic ability from attending grammar schools. Crude concepts of class have nothing to do with it.<<

    Nonsence. You are confusing intelligence with academic achievement. I think it’s been proven many times that a child’s level of academic achievement is influenced by the wealth of parents. This gap begins at pre primary level. For example not many low income families can afford to tutor their children before the 11+ exam.

    The 11+ punishes those children who parents were either less well off or not interested in their childs education. It punishes late developers, restricts social mobility and makes grammar schools middle and upper class institutions.

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  18. Reader says:

    gram: It punishes late developers, restricts social mobility and makes grammar schools middle and upper class institutions.
    “punishes”? Here’s the problem – you said yourself where the problem starts – it’s long *before* selection occurs. Academic selection may not fix the situation entirely (and if selection could work the 11+ would still not be the right tool for the job). But not applying selection is even worse. Becuase the people failing in a comprehensive Primary system aren’t going to do any better in comprehensive Second level school either.
    Dodgy Metaphor: Kicking away the ladder isn’t an answer. Becuase the people you want to hold back can get their own ladder anyway. Apparently (you didn’t explain how) wealth buys achievment even at pre-primary level.

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  19. beano says:

    “For example not many low income families can afford to tutor their children before the 11+ exam.”

    You don’t need to be tutored to pass ffs. A few practice papers from the Edco shop cost fuck all.

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  20. DM says:

    Another thing, I personally know two people who transferred from a secondary to a grammar on the basis of their academic achievment after not getting in first time round through the 11 plus. Neither person was tutored at any stage, but their ability earned them a move to the other school.

    Similarly there were a good number of transfers from secondary school 5th year into the L6 stream at my grammar, again they weren’t paying their way in, they were smart enough and they were accepted.

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  21. Issac Newton says:

    Look, it’s blatantly obvious that this women is out of her depth. If it wasn’t so fucking serious it would be funny. I’m thinking of emigrating to Canada – anyone else fancy it?

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  22. Slan says:

    “Look, it’s blatantly obvious that this women is out of her depth. If it wasn’t so fucking serious it would be funny. I’m thinking of emigrating to Canada – anyone else fancy it?”

    Shut the door on your way out.

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  23. 0b101010 says:

    I’m thinking of emigrating to Canada – anyone else fancy it?

    Sure

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  24. gram says:

    Reader:Apparently (you didn’t explain how) wealth buys achievment even at pre-primary level.< <

    Here you go:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6740139.stm

    Based on this info do you still think the 11+ is a good idea?

  25. gram says:

    >>You don’t need to be tutored to pass ffs. A few practice papers from the Edco shop cost fuck all.<<

    If children only needed practice papers then there’d be no need to go to school.

    IS FFS a new exam body?

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  26. DM says:

    [i]These results will not be a surprise to education experts or government policy advisers who have long known that parents’ [b]educational achievement and family income [/b]are indicators of a child’s educational success.[/i]

    (My emphasis)

    It’s not all that surprising that if your parents are intelligent the kid will be too, either via the genes or the upbringing (ie in a household where education is valued). And of course, if the parents are high academic achievers chances are they will be earning more, through having a degree for example. Who’s to say that wealth in this case isn’t a coincidal factor, when the real correlation is between the intelligence of the parent and the intelligence of the child?

    Your point on the eleven plus is daft by the way, if you choose to sit the exam you do your studying for it in school, the practice papers are supplementary to that.

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  27. Reader says:

    gram: Here you go:
    That doesn’t answer my question. How does *wealth* help a 3 year old? The discovery that successful and aspirational parents stimulate the intellectual development of their children is surely not news to anyone but the most blinkered ideologue. But where does the money come in to it?
    Is it utterly impossible to consider a poor or working class family that watches the news instead of Hollyoaks, buys books instead of Sky sports, and sacrifices a few minutes of East Enders to help with the homework? Clearly, there are families that will do all that – the money isn’t relevant. It’s just that money is correlated with things that *are* relevant.
    But there’s extra tuition, you say? My boy got the 11+ without extra tuition. So do many thousands of others – and the alternative to selection is that rich people buy houses near to the good schools. Problem *not* solved.
    By the way, you seem to think I support the 11+. I don’t. The 11+ is a bad test, too coachable, too narrow, and it distorts classroom teaching throughout Key stage 2. I look forward to its replacement by a better method of selection, even if the Grammar schools have to organise it themselves.

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