Fall-out from the polit-bureau failure

Also from Stormont Live is this short opening discussion on the fall-out from the failure of the polit-bureau to agree a way forward on post-primary transfer. As Mick might mention later in this podcast, having sought a decidedly left-wing objective the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane, by delivering an unregulated system has, in fact, arrived at a classically right-wing/libertarian destination.

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  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s an extremely good point.

    Life will go on for the middle classes who will be able to pay to tutor their offspring for the proprietary tests, since those tests will not be on the primary school cirriculum. Those who cannot afford the out-of-hours tuition will have to do the tests blind.

  • YesGuv

    Its a generalisation but nevertheless the ‘Middle classes’ tend to be good at getting what they want from life in general. For post primary transfer they coach their children to do the tests, they promote ambition and the pursuit of learning in the home, they become involved in their childrens schools through parents associations and boards of governors, and generally show interest, example and enthusiasm for the achievement of the best outcome for their kids. Its a sort of self fulfilling prophecy.

    Grammar schools are funded exactly the same as non grammar. The teachers are not necessarily better, just better at teaching academically oriented kids. It is legislation that forces grammar schools at the moment to fill all of their places with whoever applies, i.e. they cannot turn away D grades even if they want to. That said, it would certainly be an improvment to the current situation that outcomes for children attending non grammar schools in Northern ireland needs seriously improved for the sake of the children attending them and the wider benefit of scoiety for the future.

    The harder I look the more I think that the problem exists in the department of education. Like in other areas of government, schools have been delegated with various levels of authority for their own affairs, and in sectors such as integrated, Irish medium, CCMS (voluntary grammars)and a significant minority of individual schools, the authority delegated is significant and usually associated with outcomes that are excellent, from both a pastoral and edcuational achievement perspective, such that it could be concluded that, left to its default position, the scheme of management for a controlled school left under the control of the department of edcuation and the education and library boards is simply not adequate. With the same resources and (increasingly) smaller class sizes, the results have never been good enough and keep getting worse.

    Katrina, look inside the department, weed out the overweight bureaucracy and the incompetent teachers. Concentrate on the parts of the system that are crap, and leave the bits that are working alone.