On the peril of losing Grammar schools

I’m not sure the headline of this piece on Grammar school education is borne out in the body of the article, or in reality, where nationalists in general have been slow to defend Grammar schools in face of their pending abolition. But the figures quoted by Tom Peterkin are interesting, in that they show greater working class educational achievement in Northern Ireland than in Britain.

International studies have revealed that 75 per cent of 17-year-olds in Northern Ireland are still in full-time education or vocational training compared with 60 per cent in England. Studies have shown that 32 per cent more children from Northern Irish working class areas go to university than those from a similar background in England. Seven per cent more pupils in Northern Ireland achieve five or more GCSEs than in England. Under the point scoring system used by UCAS, Ulster university candidates average 90 compared with 75 in England.

So is this a case of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? With the formation of a new group, the Association for Quality Education, today, expect to see much more of this issue in the coming months.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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