Catholic schools still underperforming at the bottom, but…

Fascinating statistics coming out on the Department of Education. Girls do better than boys with Higher education: “85.8% of grammar school girls left school with two or more A levels or equivalent compared to 73.2% of grammar school boys (the corresponding proportions for secondary schools were 31.3% for girls and 15.0% for boys”. And, under the same measure, Catholics are doing better than Protestants: “47.3% of Catholic school leavers left with two or more A levels compared to 41.0% of Protestant school leavers”. However, there are slightly more Catholic students leaving without a single qualification than Protestant. In today’s Irish News Professor Bob Osborne told Simon Doyle that the differential is consistent with previous studies suggesting that at the bottom, Catholic school leavers do less well:

“However, previous research suggests that Catholic managed schools do better for their pupils from poorer backgrounds than those in other managed schools. This ‘school effect’ in Catholic schools particularly offsets the effect that Catholic managed schools have a much higher number of pupils from poorer backgrounds than is the case in other managed schools”

Are we looking at a faith school effect? It’s hard to tell since, most of the state schools that retain a similarly strong corporate identity, are grammars like Inst, BRA, or Methodist College. But if so, what chance is there of bringing back Church of Ireland schools? Or even the possibility of going down the English route and opening the possibility of joint faith schools.

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