Little comfort

The Belfast Telegraph devolution anniversary poll has few crumbs of comfort for embattled Education Minister Catriona Ruane. While the decision to abolish the 11plus is popular among nationalists a majority are in favour of some form of academic selection in the new set-up and are unimpressed by the Minister’s handling. Meanwhile SF has removed Catriona’s loyal defender Paul Butler as Education spokesperson and John O’Dowd given the task. Will O’Dowd continue with the Butler strategy of victimhood? Is it as Devenport asks to shore up Ruane or is SF preparing the ground for her replacement? O’Dowd does represent an area that operates under the Dixon plan that Newton Emerson argues looks like a natural compromise between the two sides. Update: McGuinness has ruled out removing her.

  • 6countyprod

    If I am not mistaken, it’s ‘Dickson’ not ‘Dixon’.

    Like O’Dowd and Newton, I grew up in the region which benefited from this form of assessment of students. In fact, I was supposed to take my 11+ in 1969 when the plan was introduced in our area. I think it is an excellent method to identify abilities and potential in students, and sets the vast majority of pupils on the right path.

  • PeaceandJustice

    A difficult transfer test for Sinn Fein PIRA

    “How do you solve a problem like Caitriona? That’s the question currently facing the hierarchy of Sinn Fein.”

  • truth and justice

    Ruane has misjudged her own community on this and Sinn Fein need to act quickly to undo the damage she has caused, any chance of winning South Down has gone!

  • slug

    Paul Butler moved out of view?

  • URQUHART

    O’Dowd would not accept losing the Chair of the PAC unless he was on a promise of something greater. I can’t imagine that Caitriona has too much longer to run.

    Which is a great shame. I have enjoyed her tenure enormously.

  • spiritof07

    john O’Dowd as the new Education Minister. Maybe not a bad idea. Behind the oafish exterior he isn’t all bad at the politics game.

  • URQUHART

    And it’s nice to see that she has found the time to shhot the breeze with The Irish Times about her time as a tennis player.

  • mnob

    Surely theres an even more obvious compromise.

    Proddys want a transfer test.
    Catholics dont.

    Proddys by and alrge go to state schools.
    Catholics by and large go to Catholic schools.

    As we have 2 different school systems anyway, why cant one have transfer tests and one not ?

    Am I missing something ?

  • Reader

    mnob: Am I missing something ?
    Yes – so I hope that was a rhetorical question! Maintained (Catholic) Grammar schools will still exist primarily to stop aspirational Catholic parents trying to get their children into state Grammar schools.

  • mnob

    Reader, so you are saying that the whole system can be brought down by a relatively small number of ‘aspirational Catholic’ parents ?

    If thats the case then ‘non academic selection’ isnt going to work very well is it, because those ‘aspirational parents’ (Catholic and non) will work whatever system arises.

  • Hogan

    Mnob

    You most definately are missing something if you think Catholics don’t want selection.

    Of course the person who will pay the price for this myopia is Ruane with her political career. (we’ll have to find someother bunch of eco-tourists for her to bring home?)

  • Steve

    I predict that this time next year you will still be predicting the imminent down fall of Ruane and the year after that as well

  • mn ob

    Hogan, I’m just going by what the Shinners and Belfast Telegraph are telling us ! 🙂

  • cynic

    “I predict that this time next year you will still be predicting the imminent down fall of Ruane and the year after that as well ”

    I predict she will be gone by September, possibly much sooner. She’s an embarassment they cannot afford.

    I will also bet that Peter and Martin are already chatting over the options to sort out the education issue and that Catriona isnt at the table. In due course she will be told what to do then they will engineer some form of exit for her.

  • Reader

    mnob: Reader, so you are saying that the whole system can be brought down by a relatively small number of ‘aspirational Catholic’ parents ?
    No – the system we have now *includes* selection. Ruane’s main problem is that ‘divide and conquer’ isn’t a useful strategy. Because if the controlled and voluntary Grammars hold out longer than the maintained Grammars, they win.
    Even Ruane’s potential supporters are desperate to hear a workable plan that doesn’t further deplete the maintained secondary level system at a time of falling pupil numbers.

  • steve48

    very astute reshuffle by SF. With the imminent raising of the Girdwood issue under DSD having Carál Ní Chuilín as Social Development spokesperson is clearly a smart move. Butler is out of his depth therefore had to go. O’Dowd has always been rated as a possible minister so nite nite Ruane. Gerry won’t be running for westminster again so young Maskey gets a leg up

  • Gregory

    “How do you solve a problem like Caitriona? That’s the question currently facing the hierarchy of Sinn Fein.”

    Ruane has annoyed me in a way I can’t forgive.

    I’m still gobsmacked at the way she has treated me. I’m genuinely shocked to see SF turn into a bunch of procrastinating Blairites.

    I’m pretty sure she’ll be a joke by the end of it. I’m going to keep plugging away with my Catholic lobbying reminding people how ‘not one of us’ she is.

    I’m appalled Gerry Adams didn’t take the hint and get rid of her. I think they are all suffering from an inflated ego syndrome.

    G.

  • Gregory

    “then they will engineer some form of exit for her. ”

    It won’t include a holiday in America.

    We have briefings going out in the Catholic archdioceses of Chicago, Boston etc. To the state legislatures. Ruane is NI’s Cardinal Law.

    Sex offenders in schools, let her explain that to America and see how it sells. She’ll be famous enough in Chicago and Philly before I’m finished with her.

    That I promise.

    G.

  • 0b101010

    “Ruane has annoyed me in a way I can’t forgive. I’m still gobsmacked at the way she has treated me.”

    “I think they are all suffering from an inflated ego syndrome.”

  • Driftwood
  • Gregory

    “I think they are all suffering from an inflated ego syndrome.”

    I’ll still be doing X & Y when she is history.

    I don’t rely on civil service eejits who have their eye on keeping past deeds secret.

    So, darn right, I was spending ten grand a month in Humberside & the North East, on teacher vetting,

    I’ve seen the misinformation Ruane’s people are sending out on teacher vetting. It is not true.

    The other thing is, she is now telling the media her “crucifix advice” is on a take it or leave it basis.

    What’s the point of that? That was not what Lord Justice Brooke et alia asked for. They wanted clear advice.

    I actually met her and Martin after I returned from an LEA area that had not referred a single teacher to LIST 99 in living memory.

    Two thousand were referred in 2005 by other LEAs.

    Vetting in NI is whatever the NASUWT tell Ruane vetting is going to be.

    It is about competence, it is not supposed to be about tier guidance on a ‘do as you want’ basis.

    She is arrogant, I’d rather have it in Irish, scrap the English altogether.

    G.

  • willis

    From David Vance via Hearts and Minds (above)

    The Ruanator reckons that you can have first rate academic excellence by removing academic selection. Most of us know that you do not raise standards by insisting on no standards.

    If we even had that level of detail from the minister it would be a good thing.

    Clearly some countries can have academic excellence without academic selection at 11. The Dickson plan shows that it can even be done in Northern Ireland. Surely David is a product of that plan?

    Is St Catherine’s College Armagh part of the plan or a free-standing Comprehensive?

    Interesting that David could joke about divided leisure centres but not divided schools. I suppose that would be supporting Integrated Education.

  • Driftwood

    willis
    Integrated education is happening (slowly) almost by default. Rationalisation of school provision will occur in my opinion. Regardless of Ruane, the real divide will probably be between the middle classes (of all persuasions) and the so called working classes. Where this will leave the “integrated” schools, if integration is evolving naturally is anyone’s guess.