Department of Education “needs to get its act together”

A second Catholic grammar school has said it intends to run an independent entrance exam. St Michael’s Boys College, Enniskillen, joins Lumen Christi in Londonderry in apparently rejecting advice from Catholic bishops – as the Derry Journal reported – although the bishops have previously expressed concern at the lack of clarity from the Department and the Minister. From the BBC report

Principal Eugene McCullough said they made the decision in the absence of any definitive and agreed plan. However, the school has not given details of what sort of test it would run. The principal of a local primary school confirmed that the grammar school had written with news of the plan and said the Department of Education “needs to get its act together”.

Any sign of that summit yet?

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  • Ally

    I saw this story in the Impartial Reporter earlier today.

    Fair play to St Michael’s. So much for clarity from Minister Ruane and her department. I for one certainly don’t see it and obviously I am not alone.

  • fair_deal

    So instead of the 11 plus we will have two tests and now a possible third replacing it.

  • slug

    Cue ministerial threat to school. And a restatement that everyone is clear on what her plans are.

  • Driftwood

    No worries. This will all be sorted out at the next executive meeting.

  • Dublin voter

    LOL. Nice one, Driftwood.

  • Ben

    Seriously tho, how can the Minister dig herself out of this education shaped hole?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]Bishop Donal McKeown reminded Catholic grammar schools of “the moral unfairness of the selective system”.[/i]

    How did he become a Priest?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    …and then a Bishop?

  • DC

    “the moral unfairness of the selective system”

    Is that a female Pope I see on the moral horizon?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “Is that a female Pope I see on the moral horizon?”

    she would look better in the wee red shoes than Razi the Nazi

  • A concerned parent

    This is only the tip of a big iceberg and there are many rumours that more Catholic grammar schools will follow the lead given by this Catholic school and that is over and above schools from both Catholic and Protestant sector that have already committed, so much for Ruane and her threats. Everyone knows that the 11+ is going, but also everyone that is except Ms Ruane has realised that academic education is here to stay and has been legislated for.

    There needs to be a realisation from the Department of Education advising this Minister that the road she has set herself on is the road to nowhere and there needs to be honesty from both her and her department as to where both schools. parents and particularly children are headed for.

    Seems to me it will end up a free for all and whoever has the biggest pockets and can pay for their children’s education it will be only those children that will be the winners.

    As the parent of a Catholic child who will be one of the first children not to sit the 11+ I just wish that a Catholic school in the greater Belfast area would break away so that I would have the choice afforded to parents West of the Bann.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Hmm… wonder will the Minister scream abuse at the head teacher of that school claiming that his criticisms are only being levelled at her because she’s either a woman, a catholic or a republican….

    Or maybe she’ll have to go out and look for a few new excuses.

  • Yvette Doll

    “she would look better in the wee red shoes than Razi the Nazi”

    Oh dear, is that my cue?

    I hardly feel Kriegshilfseinsatz der Jugend bei der Luftwaffe or plopping a few anti-tank mines at tank traps in Hungary, is quite the same thing

    Pope Benedict XVI did eventually promote the banning of land mines, which goes to show what a reformed character he is.

    “will the Minister scream abuse at the head teacher of that school claiming that his criticisms are only being levelled at her because she’s either a woman, a catholic or a republican….”

    Catholicism is like the GPO in 1916, that which is true always, and my own view is that betrayal of religion, is a terrible thing,

    I don’t believe it’s not butter, well, SF are not the first politicians to do that.

    I would also suggest that some of the the Catholic hierarchy, have sold out on ideology just as surely as any Shinner with a Queen’s shilling.

    I’m an Anglophile, I don’t have a problem with it.

    I’d just love to be paid to be a British minister in charge of big plastic inflated castles, or flower baskets at train stations.

    Yvette Doll

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]Pope Benedict XVI did eventually promote the banning of land mines, which goes to show what a reformed character he is. “[/i]

    Pity he wouldn’t do the same with paedophile Priests.

  • Mr Angry

    I think you’ll find he appears to be prepared to try.

    In Australia he stated

    “I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. Those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”

    And according to ITN

    “The pope confronted sexual abuse in the Church in the United States during a visit to Washington in April, meeting victims and vowing to keep paedophiles out of the priesthood.”

  • slug

    Please stick to topic.

  • the future’s bright the future’s orange

    we all know Ruane is a total joke. It was only time before catholic grammers went their own way. After all, Catholic grammers have the most to lose – they are consistantly rated as the best schools.
    Personally, I’m in favour of selection at 14 with a push for total integration of education by 2016.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    As I said before, some catholic grammar school principals seem to think that they occupy a place in the grand scheme just below the pope. A lot of them are in theit jobs through default or because the couldn’t hack it in the commercial world. Exactly who do they answer to? How dare they – and who are they – make any such decision? They are employed by the Education Boards – they don’t run them. The sooner Minister Ruane puts manners on them the better. And UMH, try to abandon your obsession about paedophile priests. It says more about you etc. etc.

  • DC

    I dunno I think that is one of UMH’s strongest point:

    paedophile priests

    There is some veracity in it that has reshaped thought across Europe too.

    Interesting case below, where art is viewed abstractly by certain people within the Catholic Church than by the hands of the very individual.

    For some of Gill’s fans, even looking at his work became impossible. Most problematically, he was a Catholic convert who created some of the most popular devotional art of his era, such as the Stations of the Cross in Westminster Cathedral, where worshippers pray at each panel depicting the suffering of Jesus.

    Eric Gill works on Prospero and Ariel at the BBC’s Broadcasting House
    Gill’s work remains popular
    In 1998, spurred on by a cardinal’s praise for Gill, Margaret Kennedy, who campaigns for Ministers and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors, called for the works to be removed.

    “Survivors couldn’t pray at the Stations of the Cross. They were done by a paedophile. The very hands that carved the stations were the hands that abused.

    “He abused his maids, his prostitutes, animals, he was having sex with everything that moved – a very deranged man sexually.”

    But the Catholic Church would not budge an inch. The former Westminster Cathedral administrator, Bishop George Stack, retains an unequivocal view.

    “There was no consideration given to taking these down. A work of art stands in its own right. Once it has been created it takes on a life of its own.”

  • Pancho’s Horse

    That’s reasonable enough. I mean, do we stop reading books by homosexuals or looking at their films or listening to their music just because of the author’s abberrance?

  • Seniorhas

    On a point of information Pancho, the catholic grammar schools are not owned by the education boards but, usually by the Trustees, normally the Bishop and his nominees. The Principal is an employee of the Board of Governors. Your comments on principals of catholic schools in particular and school principals in general shows a complete lack of understanding of the role of the modern school principal. Could somebody in the commercial world hack being a school principal? As in the case of Lumen Christie, are the Board of Governors going against the views of their Bishop?

    As it is more than likely that more catholic grammar schools will follow St Michael’s, does this mean that a considerable portion of the catholic population are in favour of selection and what does this mean for Ms Ruane’s and SF’s position or is the “lady not for turning”.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Many thanks, Seniorhas, for the info but the nub of my argument is that the Dept of Ed pays their salaries and so is their employer.You can pretend that the catholic schools are not part of this british, protestant state but they are. Anything else is a face saver. Note too that I said SOME principals. Your info would seem to point to the fact that they are, in fact, answerable to a bishop and a clique of retired bank managers, accountants and catholic businessmen and nobody else. Don’t ever delude yourself that the catholic church owns the schools. The catholic people own them twice over through their donations and their taxes.

  • DC

    Well I hope Pancho you can apply some of that to UMH and allow him, as an artist of communication to express himself in relation to said selective morals of Catholic clergy to particular topics that tend to jar with other moral issues on other topics.

    The debate on which is always without a settled answer thus encourages an ongoing raising of moral issues as and when they appear to conflict in certain people’s minds.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Pancho’s Horse
    “The catholic people own them twice over through their donations and their taxes”
    The only way this makes any sense is if you are implying that the laity’s donations paid for building the schools and then a miniscule share of their taxes was used to acquire them from the church.
    I don’t think Catholic school buildings are the property of the state.

  • Steve

    every one has selective morals priests, reverands and even bloggers, to try and raise it a point about education is just typical onionists finger pointing themuns is worse then usums.

    a particular skill of umh’s

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I make the point that the non catholic taxpayer only pays once for the school of his choice whereas the catholic taxpayer pays twice – once via HM’s tax and again by his ‘donations’. This was truer in earlier days of this ‘state’ when we (not the clergy, mind you) would have eaten grass rather than lose ‘our’ schools. You’ll pay for them but we’ll control them. The grammar school that I frequented wouldn’t allow dinners to be bussed in because they came from a state school kitchen. I presume that the state (ie the taxpayer) now foots 100% of the bill for all schools. If this is the case then the taxpayer should own all the schools. Either openly and wholeheartedly support this state or do the decent thing. No more elitism nor fifth columning.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    UMH is to be respected for his constancy if not for his accuracy and especially not for his geography but at least he speaks his mind.

  • Steve

    Pancho’s Horse

    So does the homeless guy begging change with the paper cup

    Admitadely they share much of the same logic and outlook as well

  • Pancho’s Horse

    ……. droll, Steve

  • Driftwood

    Pancho- State schools are open to all, RC, the various prod sects, and probably now a majority agnostic/atheist. Some protestant independent schools are not taxpayer funded in any shape or form. CCMS has power of appointment of teachers to RC schools. They are state funded, as is the upkeep of the buildings. So prods and atheists fund RC education and secular education, but not protestant education. Damned bigots!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    On top of that, a large percentage of the ‘controlled’ schools are also atheistic/agnostic/pagan. Does that affect your argument?

  • Reader

    Pancho’s Horse: but the nub of my argument is that the Dept of Ed pays their salaries and so is their employer.
    However, the Department of Education has not banned selection. That’s a wee matter that has yet to be squeezed past the Executive. Is that going to happen any time soon?
    Until then there is nothing to stop principals from choosing to continue to use selection.

  • Reader

    Pancho’s Horse: Either openly and wholeheartedly support this state or do the decent thing.
    However, Catriona Ruane has not yet become Louis XIV, and has not yet claimed “L’État c’est Moi”. Until then – or until some more accountable mechanism is used – the state doesn’t actually have a policy for anyone to support.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I don’t think the argument is with selection,per se, but with the criteria used to select. It is desirable to select on the grounds of siblingship? or on nearness to school etc but not on the strength of a ‘snap’ test for which the student has been prepared for the previous year or more at the expense of the other pupils in the class who are deemed to ‘have a different vocation in life’ like brickies or carpenters. By the way, I have no chip about the 11+. Me and all mine did it.

  • Reader

    Pancho’s Horse: It is desirable to select on the grounds of siblingship? or on nearness to school etc but not on the strength of a ‘snap’ test for which the student has been prepared for the previous year or more at the expense of the other pupils in the class who are deemed to ‘have a different vocation in life’ like brickies or carpenters.
    In which case the pupils are being let down by the Primary school, their parents, and the nature of the test. The PS should not mix pupils preparing for a test with those who are not unless the subject matter is of use to all. The modern 11+ tried to be utilitarian by basing it on English, Maths and Science, but that left it narrow enough in scope to be coachable – i.e. a bad test in that sense. And parents should help their children to make the right decision about even taking the test. We did not subject one of ours to the 11+, his older brother flew through it, as will his younger sister.
    Conveniently, a mix of tests for different schools may prevent primary schools from teaching to the test. Alternatively, adaptive or broadly based tests may not distort the Primary school curriculum nearly so much as the 11+ did. I’m not bothered by a replacement for the 11+ – not nearly the same as I am bothered by the main alternative – postcode selection.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Minister Ruane has an answer to postcode selection. All schools will be good – as good as each other so no need to move house. Bring it on!

  • dunreavynomore

    Pancho’s horse,
    on the owenership of catholic schools it has been my experience that when money is needed then the schools belong to ‘us’, the parents, but when we want to have some say or even use of the schools they suddenly belong to ‘the church.’

  • Yvette Doll

    “Personally, I’m in favour of selection at 14 with a push for total integration of education by 2016.”

    I figure, we should grab a Post Office, if there are any left, Tomb Street, we need to be in range of a sea cadet gunboat, and hold out for integration, that no tyrant, should drive a wedge between United Irishmen, if we leave the centre of Belfast in flames, people will get the message.

    With Justice devolved, Countess Ruane can face a jury of cadet officers, and Countess Ruane is spared because of CEDAW, but the rest of us are shot by well-armed pupils from Methody on the orders of Gauleiter Hanna, South Belfast and the SDLP having developed fascist policies because of the noise.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    11.Minister Ruane has an answer to postcode selection. All schools will be good – as good as each other so no need to move house. Bring it on!

    Wow, that’s a good idea: make all schools fantastic!! Bound to work!

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    PS, why do we never see the minister of education on TV anymore? I thought she was meant to be accountable? Every time we have a debate on the subject, the shinners wheel out some other poor croney. Is she being hidden away?

  • runciter

    Minister Ruane has an answer to postcode selection. All schools will be good – as good as each other

    Do you believe this is achievable?