Selection to stay

Selection will stay with the decision of 30 of the grammar schools to establish a Company to administer a test. It will be based on the primary school curriculum and be free to children from lower income families. None of the Catholic grammars are among the 30 with only Lumen Christi indicating it will adopt an entrance test. If this situation remains, what impact will it have on the intake of the maintained and controlled sectors at secondary level?

  • Gum

    They should put their money where there mouth is and be completely independent then. The 11+ is simply inherently unfair. I went to a school that fiercely opposes the new regime but no old-school-tie nonsense is blinding me to the fact that this move by Ruane is one long overdue and that my old school and the others should accept it.

    I was lucky enough to get the help I needed to pass the test. Since that is just not true for so many then it has to go. Its a shame that these 30 and Lumen Christi like having a certain type of student. No riff-raff there.

  • nmc

    I also agree that the 11+ had to go, the vast majority of parents I speak to would be of the same opinion. It was an unfair test, and too much pressure on kids so young, to be told you are a failure at the age of 11 must be devastating.

    The manor in which it was removed is what grates most people, IMO. We parents, kids, teachers also deserve to know what’s going on, but there has been no detail. Ruane must feel that she is the only person who has any right to be informed, and that no-one has the right to scrutinise the job that she is being paid to do, by us.

    It’s a critically important issue, it could have been handled a whole lot better and possibly with a little less arrogance.

  • “the vast majority of parents I speak to would be of the same opinion”

    Luckily it doesn’t matter who you speak to, we had a household survey which had a slightly larger sample size.

    “I was lucky enough to get the help I needed to pass the test. Since that is just not true for so many then it has to go.”

    Nobody’s arguing that the test should be replaced.

    FFS there are other ways of implementing selection. Just because you needed a tutor to get into a grammar school (incidentally, that’s just not true for many as well!) doens’t make grammar schools inherently bad.

  • Cynic

    We need a system that helps children maximise their potential. Within that there will always be some who do better than others in academic subjects or on a technical programme. There are also different outlooks and aspirations. Children have an acute perception of who is cleverer or better at some subjects than others. If you dont believe that ask your own children or someone else’s. You therefore cannot elimiate competition from education.

    We therefore need to help children move into the best streams for them but within a system that addresses the needs of all, in so far as we can! That means selection, whatever you call it, however you do and when you do it.

    And by the way, I got the help I needed to pass the test too…from committed teachers in a school in a very deprived area. Unfortunately my parents couldnt afford the extra costs of going to the Grammar so I went to a streamed secondary school, did A levels went to University and built my career from there. Oh yes, and there was more selection within that secondary school with 3 broad streams – an academic stream, a technical stream and a mixed version in the middle. There was also the opportunity for pupils to move up or down across the streams each year as they developed and the school better assessed them.

    My children both went to Grammars and I just dont recognise the description of the children Gum refers to. Yes there were lots of nice middle class kids but also lots of nice kids from deprived backgrounds but who were bright and clever and who, with the support of the system and through academic selection, had great futures ahead of them! If we dont maximise that potential as well we are stuffed. Its not GB or Ireland we need to compare ourselves too – its India and China.

    It’s easy to scoff at the complete shambles the Minister’s policy is in now but my real concern is that we will end up with a piecemeal system that only benefits a few. And all this not because anyone wants that or because our elected politicans cannot agree but because, for party political raesons, they will simply will not agree on principle so that them’uns can’t be seen to have got one up on them.

  • ulsterfan

    If these grammar Schools introduce some form of testing at entrance level they should still get full public support by way of funding simply because the parents are tax payers.
    The same funds should be available as those paid to other schools but if the Grammars want something extra then they must dip into their own pockets.
    Sf are making a mess of Education at all levels . Where is the right given to parents to choose the type of education they want for their children?

  • willowfield

    This was inevitable. All Ruane is succeeding in doing is privatising the 11+. The grammars will continue and selection will continue. Disappointing that the Catholic [sic] grammars are not joining in with this – many RC parents will be disappointed. And, responding to FD’s point, I think this will see increased applications to non-RC schools from RC pupils.

    GUM

    The 11+ is simply inherently unfair.

    And private education or selection by postcode is even more unfair!

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    The simple fact is that Catriona, as with her party, is highly efficient at tearing things down, but considerably less talented at offering a viable alternative.

    Other than education by postcode, we have yet to hear how children are to be transferred. Ms Ruane has made a bad situation worse through her arrogance and lack of communication.

    It’s a shame that the Catholic sector have (so far) declined to come on board with the other grammars, but I suspect that this issue is going to run and run.

  • FYI

    Gum

    “They should put their money where there mouth is and be completely independent then.”

    Oh yeah because that would really help working-class kids who want to get in to grammar schools wouldn’t it? Is this a discussion about education or class warfare? Listening to the inane drivel on the Nolan Show this morning it’s clear that for lots of people it’s the latter.

  • Dilbert

    Protestant grammars to go it alone? Lol. Good stuff, but don’t come running back these parts in ten years time.

  • FYI

    BTW, today’s announcement shows just how wrong Basil Brush and Empty-head were when they were trying to scare people over the issue.

  • Steve

    I can see the fragmenting starting already

    What size test
    What type of questions
    How to weight the results
    How do they fund it, equally or pro rata
    Who picks up any financial short falls
    Who is in charge

    Doomed to failure from the outset but I don’t think it will take 10 years probably 5 or less

  • willowfield

    Not particularly difficult questions.

  • Driftwood

    The Association for Quality Education will run the tests in conjunction with NFER, and they are NOT “protestant” schools. They are open to anyone. Anyone who has the ability, and wants a quality education that is. Expect the drift of RC children from aspirational parents to continue in to the state sector, as happens with Methody, BRA etc at present.
    Strabane Grammar will need to double in size.

  • Steve

    Driftwood
    It will work for 2 years because it will survive as 2 fingers up to Ruane then things will start to come apart at the seams as different idealogy’s will decide their needs are being served.

  • Dilbert

    Wishful thinking there Driftwood. The new entrance test for the Protestant grammars will collapse within a few years as they start compete with each other in the face of the reality of falling numbers and empty desks. Meanwhile huge swaths of the Protestant section of the community will continue to leave the less academically minded behind in the dole queues while rising tide of education lifts the Fenians up another step up the ladder to better jobs.

  • Driftwood

    Steve, that’s a confident assertion. How long do you think the assembly will last?

    Dilbert
    Can you name me a “protestant grammar”?

    I went to Down High School, with a mixture of working and middle class backgrounds of various religions (including RC)and none.

  • Dilbert

    Driftwood, you the names of the Protestant grammars yourself without me having to remind you.

  • crone

    I think the idea will fall apart before it gets off the ground. The equality legislation will give those who are rejected following a test many grounds for appeal. The grammar schools are just bluffing in the hope that Caitriona will fold. That isn’t going to happen. If Sinn Fein stop academic selection it will signal the greatest societal change in the north since its creation. This is central in the Sinn Fein strategy. They are not going to give in on this one. Despite what you might think by reading this blog site, the majority of people agree with the minister on this one.

  • Steve

    Very much confident Driftwood the 11+ survived because it was imposed on everybody, voluntary organisations always suffer from schism due to their nature

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood, you the names of the Protestant grammars yourself without me having to remind you.

    Honestly, I haven’t a clue. Down High certainly isn’t. Name one please.

  • willowfield

    The equality legislation will give those who are rejected following a test many grounds for appeal.

    LOL – How come there are no appeals now when the “equality legislation” has been in place for years and so has academic selection?

    The grammar schools are just bluffing in the hope that Caitriona will fold. That isn’t going to happen.

    They’re not bluffing and it will go ahead.

    If Sinn Fein stop academic selection it will signal the greatest societal change in the north since its creation.

    Maybe, but not the way the Provos think – entry to grammar schools by wealth selection rather than academic selection.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s a fair amount of futuring going on here. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but can I ask on what grounds the Equality commission might object to academic selection after the Departments guidelines are imposed, and, why not now or in the last 20 since the last significant judgement?

    Bear in mind that departmental guidelines do not require a change to the law.

  • Star of the County Down

    ‘The equality legislation will give those who are rejected following a test many grounds for appeal.’

    How? As long as the schools’ criteria for entry, including test grades, are clearly communicated, and the test is open to all (as today’s announcement goes a long way to ensuring), what possible grounds could there be for subsequent legal appeal?

  • willowfield

    The new entrance test for the Protestant grammars will collapse within a few years as they start compete with each other in the face of the reality of falling numbers and empty desks.

    The falling numbers and empty desks affect the secondary schools – not the grammars.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi All,

    If we’re to scrap selection surely that means ALL selection. Therefore…

    1.) pupils should be able to go to whatever university they want regardless of A-level results
    2.) puplis should be able to take whatever A-levels regardless of GCSE results

    Aye, that’d work!

    Oh, but that’s alright as the pupils are 16/18 so wouldn’t be as upset. Selection at 11 is then the problem as the pupils are “scarred” for life. So then, why select at 4 dependent on something as arbitrary as religion? If they’re scarred at 11 what’s the result at 4? Complete psychopaths running amok killing based on religion? Just like your helpers in the military wing Katrina? If Ruane doesn’t like selection stop funding RC and Free P schools. Once, she’s that sorted she could get back to us…

  • crone

    LOL – How come there are no appeals now when the “equality legislation” has been in place for years and so has academic selection?

    There are many appeals every year following the publication of exam results. All appeals following this new entrance exam will be the responsibility of the individual schools which are operating outside of the education departments guidelines. I have no doubt that this will be a major disincentive for the grammar school sector.

    They’re not bluffing and it will go ahead.

    We disagree on that one. Time will tell.

    Maybe, but not the way the Provos think – entry to grammar schools by wealth selection rather than academic selection.

    I think that wealth is already a major factor in attendance at grammar school. This is one of the reasons that the majority of people want to see change

  • Mark McGregor

    I thought the Voluntary Grammars were only allowed to charge fees for Capital projects? Does charging fees for other areas – an entrance exam – mean they no longer meet the criteria for Voluntary Grammar designation and effectively become Independent Grammars with no claim on funding from the Boards?

  • willowfield

    CRONE

    There are many appeals every year following the publication of exam results.

    Not based on “equality legislation”!

    I think that wealth is already a major factor in attendance at grammar school.

    Doubtless – and will become the only factor under Ruane’s proposals!

    This is one of the reasons that the majority of people want to see change

    Why do they want to change from a situation where wealth is a major factor to one where it is the only factor?

    Mark

    I thought the Voluntary Grammars were only allowed to charge fees for Capital projects? Does charging fees for other areas – an entrance exam – mean they no longer meet the criteria for Voluntary Grammar designation and effectively become Independent Grammars with no claim on funding from the Boards?

    Doubtful/wishful thinking

  • Driftwood

    Stop press.

    I think i’ve dound a “protestant” grammar school!

    http://www.dundalkgrammarschool.ie/

  • DM

    Oh go on Dilbert, have a go.

    Glad to see my old school is one of the thirty – here’s hoping we see more like Lumen Christi in the CCMS joing them.

  • Dilbert

    All of the 30 mentioned are Protestant grammar schools. You may like to call them state schools but they are Protestant schools.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dilbert,

    I hate to ask since it is such an obvious distraction from the subject in hand: but in what way are they Protestant?

  • DM

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I went to one of them and there were protestant and catholic students and some of various other religions. It’s not a matter of ‘what I like to call them’, it’s a matter of whether or not they select pupils on the basis of their religion – and I know from first-hand experience that at least one on that list didn’t, and I’d wager the majority are the same.

  • Dilbert

    Mick they are Protestant in the same way that most people on this board prefer to reduce all things NI to the sectarian zero sum game. You know, the troubles were all about Catholic v Protestants, the IRA were vile sectarian murderers of innocent Protestant, the GAA is a Catholic organisation, RUC men are all Protestant RUC men, the UDR man that was shot dead last night was a Protestant father of whatever, the Protestant Shankill Rd, the Catholic Falls Rd. I am merely using the same language which is widely accepted in describing every aspect of life in NI. Hence we have Catholic grammars and Protestant grammars. The State schools are therefore Protestant. You can’t pick and choose. Mick while I’ve got your attention, when are you going to sort out the top heavy amount of unionist bloggers on this site – a cursory glance down the pages the part few weeks will clearly illustrate what I mean.

  • willis

    Are there any state Grammars not on the list?

  • Driftwood

    Dilbert, now that you are using a JCB to dig, would you describe the aforementioned schools as “Unionist/Loyalist grammars”?

  • slug

    Willis – Ballymena Academy is not a state grammar (it is actually a voluntary grammar) but it is not on the list.

  • Dilbert

    Driftwood, no I wouldn’t so why not get back to the topic at hand, namely the Protestant grammars trying to go it alone.

  • Driftwood

    Well, while I think your designation of schools that are open to everyone, of all faiths and none, as “Protestant”, somehow I think this debate will continue apace on the new Hearts and Minds thread just opening.
    And since Catriona is going to give everyone all the answers tonight, tomorrow we will all be enlightened, happy bunnies.

  • Alan

    I may be wrong, but my understanding is that changes in school criteria have to be agreed with the Department. It is the implementation of those entrance criteria that can be appealed.

    See http://www.belb.org.uk/Downloads/OpenEnrolment/Appeals_Booklet.pdf

    This will lead to real problems for the Schools’ governors. Personal liability looms large.

    I am sure that the Minister must be considering removing the DENI Reps from the Grammar School Boards, as should the Churches.

    How could the Grammars have allowed themselves to be sucked into this dangerous nonsense, What matters more Grammar Schools or pupils?

  • Quaysider

    Dilbert, you are a tribal dinosaur. My (Catholic) wife attended one of the schools on that list along with half her (Catholic) neighbourhood.

  • Star of the County Down

    Willis – Portora, Rainey Endowed, Campbell are other notable exceptions.

  • Cynic

    “Mick while I’ve got your attention, when are you going to sort out the top heavy amount of unionist bloggers on this site – a cursory glance down the pages the part few weeks will clearly illustrate what I mean. ”

    I know Dilbert. All them Proddies expressing their views. Its shocking isnt it. Shouldnt be allowed.

    By the way the only Grammars that discriminate on religous gounds are the Catholic ones. Want to teach in a Catholic school – sorry Proddies you dont fit the ethos. Proddy pupils – discouraged as wouldnt fit in.

    In terms of the legal challenges, if they structure this properly there can be a private limited company running the tests. Parents can choose to send their children for testing or not. Their contract for the testing will be with the limited company. If a child is tested, then the school can have the scores to inform their selection process. The limited company is probably not judicially revieweble in the way that the Board and Schools always were. The Schools are in no worse a position that they were before. You could even remove the stigma of “11+ failure” by simply having scores not pass / fail grades and who says that all the grammars have to have the same threshold score for entry?

    What we could therefore see is parents ability to opt into selection at a relatively small cost. Those who dont opt in will make that choice knowing what is available elsewhere.

    In terms of her ‘warnings’, either the Minister doesnt know what she’s talking about (which I doubt) or is simply trying scare tactics / playing to those in her own constituency as she tries to hide what a total utter shambles (from her policy standpoint) this now is.

    Vote Sinn Fein and you may have to:-

    * keep selection
    * pay for the 11+ test yourself
    * send your child to a mixed Grammar to get them into a good school

    The upside is that in the medium term she has probably done wonders for integration – at least for those who pass the test.

  • Want to teach in a Catholic school – sorry Proddies you dont fit the ethos.

    Horse shit. We are not living in the 1950s. There were quite a number of Protestant teachers in the grammar I went to in the late 1980s/early 1990s and there are more now. And it isn’t atypical.

    And Dominican College, Portstewart has a Protestant head teacher and a majority Protestant intake. But don’t worry about the facts, just keep living in the your wee fantasy world where all the problems in this society are the fault of fenians.

  • Driftwood

    That’s pretty much the case Cynic
    Rising numbers of RC parents are choosing to send their children to the likes of Methody or Hunterhouse and others because of convenience and reputation. This will take off hugely unless other RC grammars follow the lead of Lumen Christi. Lots of them don’t give a shit what the Bishop says. A good education means more than “politically correct” stringent ideology, or even Catholic ethos. Or Ruane’s bletherings.
    Sure isn’t Jordanstown just as good as Oxford. They are both universities, and parental preference should make either available to all.
    Down with this bourgeois sort of thing!

  • Catriona was warned that if she persisted in trying to pull a solo run she would end up with the Prod grammars declaring UDI and a system which is less socially inclusive than the present one. And so it has proven. It’s high time Adams and McGuinness replaced this embarrassing failure with someone up to the job.

    I love the patronising little snippet that the 30PGs are going to let children from poor families sit their entry test for free. Bless. Are they going to provide free after-school tutoring to give the same poor children something of a break when they try to compete for places with privately tutored kids? I doubt it, as this list consists in large measure of schools which have spent decades using punitive capitation fees and expensive uniforms to keep the poor out; unless of course, their parents show how deserving they are by getting into debt to pay for fees that schools shouldn’t be allowed to charge in the first place.

    As for the effect this will have on integration, I would guess in my neck of the woods, this will mean, firstly, massive middle-class flight from St. Malachy’s and Fortwilliam. Actually there already is, not only to BRA, but cross-town to Rathmore and especially Aquinas, and this trend will be exacerbated. BRA’s Catholic intake will shoot up from 45% to something more like 70-80%. And some Catholic parents in the Antrim Road and Glengormley will suddenly discover where Belfast High and even Ballyclare are. But will that mean that St. Malachy’s and Fortwilliam turn into sink schools? Well, unless you think that working class kids are inherently thick, no, why should it? It might mean that Ballysillan closes and Glengormley High and the Model Schools get a sudden surge in numbers, though.

    As someone who is instinctively suspicious of the comprehensive lobby, but has been sickened over the past year or two by the unconcealed snobbery and depth of denial among AQE and their supporters, I’d like the pro-grammar crowd here to riddle me a few things:

    Firstly, grammar schools were intended to be academic hothouses. Grade As, originally intended to be awarded to the top 25% of entrants, however, were awarded to 38% of entrants in 2006 and Grade As and Bs to a whopping 55% of pupils. That’s right, a majority of 11-plus entrants now get at least a Grade B, and many grammar schools, especially around Belfast, are now accepting pupils with Cs. Indeed, very few of the 30PGs are accepting As and Bs only any more. Clearly, grammar schools aren’t academic hothouses anymore. So what are they? And if they are already open to children with below-average ability, why test by ability at all?

    Secondly, there are huge, and universally acknowledged social disparities in educational attainment based on social class. Admittedly, many emerge in our (comprehensive) primary system, but they continue to widen through the post-primary period. Do you agree that grammar schools exacerbate this problem? With the ability barrier now so low for grammar schools, do you feel there is a danger that grammars are effectively selecting by class? If so, is this a problem or is it really none of the business of grammar schools to fix society’s problems? Do you think these schools have a responsibility to examine their uniform and fee policies to see if they are de facto exclusionary?

    Finally, as our school age population is in steep decline, what do you see as the long term future as grammar schools? Would you be prepared to see some of them close to maintain academic standards? Or would you be comfortable with a situation where they were educating 80% of children instead of just 60%? In which case, what is the point in having a different system for a minority of mostly poor children?

    For the fact book, as far as I can work out, the following traditionally Protestant Grammars are not on the list:

    Ballymena Academy
    Campbell College (may be a prelude to going completely independent)
    Coleraine High
    Lurgan College (Dixon Plan school)
    Portadown College (Dixon Plan school)
    Portora
    Rainey Endowed

    Oh, and for all of you playing for the slow team, there are only a handful of State Grammars (all of which are among the 30 schools); most of what are colloquially referred to as Protestant Grammars are, er…, Protestant. As in BRA is Presbyterian, Campbell C of I, and Methody is, well, you know, Methodist.

    By the way, I laughed when Beano said you needed a tutor to pass the 11-plus. If you need a tutor to pass an exam that a majority of children pass, aren’t you unsuited to an academic education, almost by definition.

  • LURIG

    Irrespective of what way you want education to go I am sick to the back teeth listening to the comfortable middle class media being TOTALLY hostile to the minister ALL day. They are obviously protecting self interests regarding their own little Jeremys’ & Fionas’ with their biased questioning. There has been NO neutrality or fairness within the media regarding this. From day one they have thrown themselves totally behind the UUP/DUP stance and the collective disdain of the media towards her is shocking. The fact is that MOST of the political parties, especially the UUP/DUP, don’t really give a damn about failing inner city schools & kids so long as their offspring and friends are OK Jack! It is elitist and the hypocritical Catholic snobs who eat the altar rails on a Sunday in the ‘nice’ areas are just as bad as the Protestant Grammar school supporters.

  • That’s right, Lurig, Catriona is a great minister and anyone who criticises her must really be secretly plotting to get Tarquin into Methody, because like God’s Mammy, she is without sin. Thank God for Catriona Ruane, statesperson and genius!

  • LURIG

    Who said I was a great Catriona Ruane fan? My post was more to do with the coverage than the personalities. She certainly deserves criticism for NOT clarifying the situation or laying out her plans but I have NO time for the media bores who are obviously looking after themselves and families with their hostile line of questioning. THEY, almost to a journalist, are totally against scrapping selection AND don’t they let the rest of us know? You can see and feel the media anger towards her and yes I would say this IS their own self interest coming to the fore. Where is the professionalism, neutrality and impartial reporting? Are we NOT entitled to this?

  • Alan

    “By the way, I laughed when Beano said you needed a tutor to pass the 11-plus. If you need a tutor to pass an exam that a majority of children pass, aren’t you unsuited to an academic education, almost by definition. ”

    Umm – no, because all of those who pass are tutored too, perhaps?

    “In terms of the legal challenges, if they structure this properly there can be a private limited company running the tests. Parents can choose to send their children for testing or not. Their contract for the testing will be with the limited company. If a child is tested, then the school can have the scores to inform their selection process. The limited company is probably not judicially revieweble in the way that the Board and Schools always were.”

    What a breathtakingly gauche statement that is.

    Leaving aside the self defeating “probably not” in the final sentence ( I’d love to see a legal opinion that was so indecisive ), Grammars will have to demonstrate that their decisions are made on firm educational and social grounds. They cannot abdicate that responsibility and pass it to anyone else. Any contractual arrangement between the school and the private company will of necessity define the objective of the school in requiring the test result. It is that objective that is appealable.

    Look, we are talking about public bodies in receipt of public money with responsibilities as to how they use that funding. Have the Boards of Governors of all of these Grammars actually passed this idea formally? Or is this just a ripping wheeze that the GBA dreamt up?

  • Driftwood

    Sammy Morse
    If BRA is a protestant (presbyterian) school, why is 45&#xof; its intake Roman Catholic? The school I went to (Down High) is not a “protestant” school.
    Many Roman Catholics attended when I was there. |Some mixed marriages, some from Ballykinlar Camp (Officers children only of course), some for its reputation. You are correct in all you say about the excellent Dominican College, Portstewart.
    Parents want the best for their kids no matter what. If that means mixing with other kids from similar socio-economic backgrounds, so what? that’s life. As long as they are academically inclined. I also think FE colleges are deeply undervalued in many areas.
    LURIG
    Ruane was talking inane socialist drivel, the sort of shite you would hear from a FARC spokesperson.

  • Reader

    Congael Claen: If Ruane doesn’t like selection stop funding RC and Free P schools. Once, she’s that sorted she could get back to us…
    Free P schools aren’t publically funded. Essentially because they won’t accept the standard curriculum and standard inspections, I suppose.

  • Ulster Tory

    To be perfectly honest, for the whole ‘Equality Agenda’ of the Shinners that Katrina talked about on Hearts and Minds; what they are doing is just making selection more unfair. Plenty of working class pupils attend the Grammar School I am a pupil at. If they bring in a system like the English one, then the number of fee paying Private schools will rise. Also, house prices around top performing schools will rise significantly. Both of these factors will make it more unfair for people from less well off backgrounds to get into top performing schools.

    As someone said earlier – under Ruane’s postcode lottery idea it is Wealth Selection, not Academic Selection.

  • Driftwood

    Correct, ulster tory
    Now moved to Hearts and minds Redux debate.
    It’s a pity Ruane never went to a good school and learnt how to socialise, interact, produce evidence etc.
    Maybe FARC showed her the shining path…sendero luminoso, you might have to google that to understand her nonsensical nindset.

  • Ulster Tory

    Does anyone know if Ruane’s children even go to school in Northern Ireland?

  • Cynic

    Alan

    Please actually read what I wrote.

    “Gauche” and “self defeating”? I am not a lawyer but you can generally only JR a public authority.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_review

    Depending upon how they structure this they can potentially make the exam process itself JR proof.

    “They cannot abdicate that responsibility and pass it to anyone else”

    Who suggested they should? If there is a seperate independent exam that children take and Grammars decide to use the results as part of their selection process (as they are legally allowed to) that is a matter for them provided they behave fairly and within the rules.

    Yes, they may be challenged on the criteria just as they are challeneged now. As another example many universities considering students for over-subscribed courses like Law and Medicine now make all applicants sit a standardised independent test (eg LNAT) which they use to filter applications. What’s the difference in law or in principle?

  • The Doctor

    I’m a tad late to the game here but Coleraine Inst is one of the thirty. In my time there – now about 15 years ago – there was good proportion of kids who weren’t from the Protestant community. Its intake was from Coleraine, Portrush/stewart, the rural towns, Limavady, Ballymoney and everywhere in between.

    Can I say, this was also the case at Coleraine High School too. (By the way, local word has it that it will join “the thirty” shortly.) For those not in the know, Loreto – at the time – had quite a lot of Protestant kids there.

    I’d say this is the case in many (but NOT all) of those schools which find themselves labelled in a politically expedient manner as “Protestant”.

    For what its worth – and its not worth much – this is the worst case of ministerial leadership I have ever seen. Communication is a word not in the dictionary that Ms Ruane had at whatever school she went to.

    Ulster Tory – I stand to be corrected, but I understand Ms Ruane’s own children went/go to a grammar school in the North.

  • Umm – no, because all of those who pass are tutored too, perhaps?

    But they aren’t. I wasn’t, and members of my family have passed without tutoring.

    If BRA is a protestant (presbyterian) school, why is 45&#xof; its intake Roman Catholic?

    By logical extension then, Dominican College is not a Catholic school. Think this through. Is that what you really wanted to imply…

    If that means mixing with other kids from similar socio-economic backgrounds, so what?

    So, it reinforces social segregation into adult life which results in a less cohesive society.

    So, it means that children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to get into university and professional jobs.

    So, it means that birth becomes destiny; we have a de facto caste system.

    So, we squander an enormous amount of human potential.

    These consequences strike me as socially damaging and morally repugnant. Maybe you can live with them and they aren’t really issues for you and your family. Fine, but remember you are expecting the taxpayer to fund your children’s education, so the taxpayer and his elected representatives can have some say in how it is run.

    I don’t want to abolish the current system until we get something better to put in its place. But the complacency and snobbery of the Protestant grammar school establishment is so outrageous that the rest of us need to look at alternatives because they clearly have no interest in reform. Catriona Ruane, poor as her performance has been, is only filling a vacuum.

  • BonarLaw

    Alan

    you (and the Minister) seem to be ignoring the fact that the ability to use academic selection is retained in statute. Grammars will use the test results in exactly the same way they used the 11+ results without the need to define any objectives. If you are pinning your comprehensive hopes on the High Court I would advise caution.

  • Driftwood

    Come off it Sammy
    I know how good a school, Dominican College, Portstewart is, and it’s excellent head and teaching staff, same as Down High.
    This isn’t a sectarian issue, it’s a class issue.

    But the complacency and snobbery of the Protestant grammar school establishment is so outrageous that the rest of us need to look at alternatives because they clearly have no interest in reform.

    So Lumen Christi, and others forthcoming, don’t have a point? Its just the prods?
    Fuck off, Middle class RC parents are no different from their prod counterparts.

    Yes , we do have a de facto caste system, same as USA and lots of Europe. That’s capitalism!
    Learn and live.
    The alternative is Communism.
    If that’s your choice, fine, but liberal democracy is the lesser evil in my humble, grammar school educated opinion.

  • LURIG

    Driftwood

    “Middle class RC parents are no different from their prod counterparts”

    What a stark, sweeping…………but TOTALLY TRUE generalisation that is. If anything and speaking from experience I would say some of them are far more snobbier and class driven than some of their Prod counterparts. Believe me MANY of them are TOTALLY behind the DUP & UUP and it IS a class issue. Like Mr & Mrs McCorquendale from North Down, Mr & Mrs Brennan from Upper Antrim Road & South Down don’t want ANY association with the roughs for Olcan or Brid. Many within the Catholic community are starting to go down traditional Prod way and are disassociating themselves from their origins and areas where they grew up. To be fair & given the way some of these districts have gone I can hardly blame some of them but let’s do away with the hypocrisy & double standards. The Catholic Church is one of the most class driven, stuck up, conservative organisations about & would LOVE nothing more than Academic selection to remain & I speak as one of the flock. ALL the diocesan priests & bishops traditionally came from comfortable middle class urban families and comfortable rural farming stock. ANY religious working class or inner city kids were traditionally steered towards the Christian Brothers or Missions.FACT!

  • Alan

    “Grammars will use the test results in exactly the same way they used the 11+ results without the need to define any objectives.”

    As you would expect, I disagree.

    They will have to prove that the exam is unbiased and achieves a substantial academic weighting of pupils in order to justify decisions. CCEA have in the past said that this is achievable, but would require a more strenuous exam.

    As a result all costs of defending decisions would now rest with the individual School rather than the state. In simple fact it would rest with the School Governors.

    I cannot see how a Principal could account for spend from public resources to defend the school’s acceptance of an independently run exam – so expenditure would have to come from voluntary subscriptions.

    I’m not even considering the costs of defending a decision in high court. I’m thinking of individual schools requiring representation in the first step of the appeal process.

  • Jen Erik

    How does it work in England, Alan?

    I know my niece had to sit a separate test or tests for each selective school she applied to. In the school she got into, there are ten applicants for each place, so there must be appeals.

    These are state schools, not private schools.

    If they can run independently run exams, why wouldn’t schools be able to do it here?

    I’m not arguing that it’s a good system, I’m just wondering how it works.
    (My husband, by displaying a momentary and uncharacteristic interest in his children’s education, became a parent governor: there’s a reason no-one goes to those meetings.)

  • Alan

    I really have no idea of the detailed functioning of the selective system at transfer in England. I assume that arrangements would have to be put in place by supportive local authorities.

  • As a result all costs of defending decisions would now rest with the individual School rather than the state.

    How does it work with Independent Selective schools in England? I would imagine that whatever they do will be cloneable to NI. I would also imagine that various NI Grammar heads have been talking to their English counterparts through the HMC to discuss exactly that.