“little light shed on the future for post-primary pupils..”

The Assembly website notification of today’s meeting of the Education Committee warns that “Please note these timings are indicative”. However the Education minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane, took the 10.00am-11.00am scheduling literally and, when the alloted hour was up, abruptly left the meeting announcing that she had “another engagement to attend” – that hour included an opening statement by the minister which lasted more than 20mins. The Committee members might have wanted to ask more questions about some of those contentious proposals.. or, indeed, those “cost-neutral” ones, but the minister had left the building.. As the BBC report states

In December, Ms Ruane was criticised for a lack of detail in how the new transfer process would operate, but she said at the time her statement was merely an “early briefing”.

The minister promised to bring more detailed proposals to the assembly in the new year, but education correspondent Maggie Taggart said “there was little light shed on the future for post-primary pupils” during Thursday’s meeting.

And as Mark Devenport notes in his blog

Safe to say, after this somewhat confrontational performance, relations between the Minister and the Committee cannot be said to have improved.

Adds Additional quotes here

  • joeCanuck

    Why does everyone keep saying post-primary instead of secondary? Am I missing something (apart from the usual)?

  • Debbie

    Yes I think we’re all missing something joe, this woman wants to go around the assembly and bring in her proposals/changes by order……time for everybody to wake up or she will get away with it!

  • lámh dearg

    The whole lot of them (but particularly Ms Ruane) are an embarrassing load of incompetent sh***s.

    And before I am accused of playing the man, the big issue here is the fact that many (if not all) of our Ministers are incompetent and the administration they (supposedly collectively) become is not fit for purpose, and couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.

    Ms Ruane hasn’t got any more substantial proposals and has no idea what is going to happen to our children.

    Mr McGimpsey has no idea how he is going to commission services in the health service (apparently he had to have the word explained to him).

    Ms Foster flipflops from week to week depending on God knows what.

    For God’s sake bring back direct rule.

  • harry

    lay off Minister Ruane,OK!!

    she had to get up at 6.30am this morning! i’d like to know how many you got up at 6.30am? None, thats how many.

  • Paul P

    What was Ruane moaning about getting up at 6:30am for? I bet she would get up earlier to catch a plane to Columbia.
    (a farmer once told me if he didn’t get his children up in the morning they would lie in to after 6.00!)

    By showing contempt to the committee members she showed contempt to me and my children. One of the reasons we have MLA’s is that they can scrutinise policy and performance of Ministers.

  • gordon

    Ruane is by far the most incompetant Minister. In the meeting this morning she was arrogant, condesending and a real smart ass.

    There are no substance to her plans, its no wonder that her officals are abandoning her.

    Long live Sammy Wilson

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    6.30am? As supposed education minister, this woman is on serious money and is expected to perform to a high standard.

    What we got was a woman flouncing in late, taking up almost half the session with a pre-prepared statement, picking a fight by addressing her audience in Irish and flouncing out after exactly an hour for ‘another engagement.’

    I don’t know about anyone else on Slugger, but when I was in full-time employment (with a fraction of Cat’s salary), I was expected to be present at meetings until the business was completed. If I couldn’t manage that, I could collect my coat and P45 on the way out.

    Ms Ruane may not realise it, but those of us with primary school children take this issue extremely seriously, and if she can’t be arsed to do her job, there are plenty of others who can.

  • ulsterfan

    It would be interesting to know what the other official appointment was and if it was important enough to cut short her meeting with the Committee.
    Can this be found under FOI act.
    Every statement made by every politician should be checked because there are so many banana skins waiting to cause them to slip

  • joeCanuck

    I understand that she had an urgent need to go and look out the window.

  • willis


    I believe it is known as post-primary because the word secondary was already being used to describe one of the elements of 11+ education, i.e. secondary schools.

  • Dean Nullec

    Getting up at 6am. As a teacher I am in school most mornings at 6am trying to implement so called education policy.

  • IJP

    To be fair, Gerry, the next ‘engagement’ was the Executive meeting.

    However, the stuff about up at 6.30am is laughable. Although I must confess I rose at precisely 6.57am this morning, luxury!

    I think it was summed up perfectly on Good Morning Ulster by one texter – the Minister is hiding behind general statements. She is even alienating those who are sympathetic, generally, to what she is saying.

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks, Willis.
    I thought secondary had been replaced by comprehensive.

  • Joe, secondary schools (often referred to as Secondary Modern, particularly in GB) are the alternatives to Grammar schools in the current system for those who either don’t get the grades to go to any of the grammars they wanted or whose parents don’t feel a grammar education would be suitable for their child.

    Comprehensives are the ones that don’t make any distinction on the grounds of academic merit, ie they cover all abilities (which, I believe, is where the name comprehensive comes from) and accept based on other criteria (usually post code).

    For obvious reasons, these rarely, if ever co-exist. AFAIK English counties have either a grammar/secondary system or a comprehensive one.

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks, Beano. That clearly explains it.
    I couldn’t understand the difference.