“We are in a new era in education..”

The INTO seem intent on continuing their campaign against academic selection [It’s a human rights violation! – Ed] Yeah, right. Oh, and here are some statistics to play with. Meanwhile, with “deadlock and stasis” evident, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane, still in that trench, proves willing to ignore ideology in some circumstances by welcoming the signing of a £45.5million capital contract, to provide for four Catholic maintained schools. A contract which also covers building maintenance and facilities management for the next 25 years.. The detail is in the Notes to Editors.

5. The capital cost for the four new schools, which will be delivered through a Public Private Partnership contract, is £45.5million.

, , , , ,

  • “Public Private Partnership”

    How are earlier PPP contracts performing, Pete?

  • TK

    I have to laugh at teachers. Being against selection is one thing but come on- who have been raking it in over the last number of years in part-time tutoring for the 11 plus? Plumbers? No teachers. How many are involved? How many declared it?

  • Pancho

    I’m not from the area, but is there still not the 7 year delayed Lagan College?

    Portadown College still hasn’t started it’s much needed expanded building.

  • The Raven

    I’m with Nevin…isn’t PPP or whatever acronym they use now, not very much out of favour with socialist parties who’s members only get an industrial wage…?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Raven wasn’t there a school already built with ppp which is now closed and the public will be paying for it for the next 20 odd years.they still can afford armani suits though.

  • dunreavynomore

    When a child transfers from primary to secondary school they will be ‘streamed’, I think is the word; Some put in Class A, some B and so on. Apparently this is done on the pupil’s percieved ability and I can’t help wondering if this is not simply another method of that hated ‘selection’. Do the kids placed in the lower or less abled class feel worthless, stigmatised, and do they go through life saying’ ‘ah, sure I was in the D class, sure what chance had I, that old ‘selection’ buggered me up?’. Some kids will also be told when they go to secondary that they can’t take certain subjects because the class they have been placed in does not do that subject! Fair play my behind! Does any country in the world run a system where all are treated equally and taught equally or is such a system even possible?

  • Alan

    Dear Dunreaveynomore,

    No it doesn’t work that way. All children can enter the school and are banded according to ability within subjects. They can move up and down through the bands, depending on their ambition. It encourages ambitious kids and doesn’t stigmatise poorer performers. Importantly, kids of the same family can all go to the one school, without the pseudo-academic claptrap.

    It also increases access to the curriculum by focusing funding on the needs of the child as opposed to the petty foibles and prejudices of the grammar schools.

    The current stasis is actually a self-induced blockage caused by SF and the DUP. At least, parents throughout Northern Ireland are now asking why their kids are being forced to cram for mickey mouse exams to satisfy Governors and Head teachers in the Grammar schools.

    Those particular questions will likely be answered in full in court by the self same Governors and Head teachers.

    I find Sinn Fein’s apparent refusal to move any education reform until the 11+ is sorted to be a real blind alley. We need to see movement, at some level. Failing to implement change when change is required, and that change is ready to be implemented, is either discrimination or neglect.

    Let both the DUP and SF leave Transfer deadlocked and prioritise movement on other issues. It’s kids who are suffering.

  • dunreavynomore

    Alan
    “All children can enter the school and are banded according to ability within subjects”

    ‘According to their ability.’ exactly, they are ‘selected’ by how well they have done in various subjects. they cannot move up or down ‘depending on their ambition’, but only depending on their ability, selection again. Those in the lower classes may be unable to take subjects they wish to because the class they are in is not considered fit for that subject! This is selection no matter what we like to call it and not necessarily a very democratic selection system as it is open to abuse.
    BTW I am against the 11 plus, I just find it a bit hypocritical of those who shout about how damaging ‘selection’ is while ignoring the selection that takes place day in and day out.
    The bottom class, of course, is the ‘remedial’ class where those who leave the primary system after 7 years, unable to read, write or count properly, are placed but that is not ‘selection’ I suppose and I further suppose that those kids will never feel ‘failure’ like those terribly ‘traumatised’ kids who once failed an exam.

  • Alan

    “they cannot move up or down ‘depending on their ambition’, but only depending on their ability, selection again.”

    Sorry, that is simply wrong. If you can’t pass an exam, then that is a problem, but facilitating the study of the subject is the responsibility of the School Governors. Personally, I don’t believe in finite abilities, I believe in learning and opportunity.

    “Those in the lower classes may be unable to take subjects they wish to because the class they are in is not considered fit for that subject!”

    Wrong again, they have a right to access the curriculum – full stop.

  • SM

    Everybody fails at things in life. Getting over it is part of growing up. Why do these hand-wringing types think it is bad for people to fail an exam? Plenty of folk have gone on from that to be very successful in life (note I say in life in life, not in academia so don’t be saying I said academic selection is pointless).

  • dunreavynomore

    Alan
    You seem to be suggesting that the pupil can dictate which class he/she is to be in, for instance if year one is divided into 4 different classes decided on apparent ability can a pupil who has been ‘selected’ for class 4 demand to be placed in class 1?
    How are classes arrived at in your school if not on ability? You imply that ambition equates with ability or intelligence but while ambition will help it is not a guarantee of intelligence or ability and a very intelligent child may not have much ambition while a very slow learner may be ambitious If we sort them out in terms of ambition we are once again ‘selecting’.
    My point is that some form of ‘selection’ will always take place so the crocodile tears about exams being ‘sselective are nothing more than crocodile tears.

  • willis

    Dunreaveynomore

    Alan is quite right to talk about ambition, although motivation might make more sense to some.

    Imagine you wanted to get your car fixed. You go to the garage and ask for the best mechanic The boss says “Do you want the best academically or the one who works hardest?”

    Who would you choose?

  • I’m glad Catriona Ruane isn’t Education Secretary in England but I have every sympathy for her. Still when Cameron cuts the NI education budget by 20% her problems will be over.

  • paceparent

    It is clear that Pancho doesn’t bother to read the Assembly Hansard. If he did he would have spotted Caitriona’s latest attempt to mislead. PACE already caught her out on the costs of the Pupil Profile. This one is even more outrageous.

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2008/090526.pdf
    Lagan College
    4. Ms Lo asked the Minister of Education to outline
    why there is a delay in reaching a decision on
    rebuilding premises at Lagan College. (AQO 2774/09)
    The Minister of Education: Ó rinneadh Aire díom,
    chuir mé in iúl an imní atá orm faoi úsáid
    comhpháirtíochtaí príobháideacha poiblí i scoileanna.
    Since coming to office, I have opposed the use of
    public-private partnerships in schools. I have not
    approved any new school PPP projects since taking up office.

    Now read note 5 again slowly and carefully.

  • caoimhin

    Dunreavynomore,

    If it is possible to stream pupils successfully in comprehensive schools (as is done in numerous rural areas), do you not think that all schools should then share the responsibility of low ability students. The current system of sink schools is very out of date.

  • 0b101010

    Imagine you wanted to get your car fixed. You go to the garage and ask for the best mechanic The boss says “Do you want the best academically or the one who works hardest?”

    Who would you choose?

    Now, what if the one that works the hardest doesn’t know the difference between a car and a banana? But, bless ’em, they work so hard!

    Effort and ability are not mutually exclusive. If the boss didn’t know this, and couldn’t point out their best mechanic, I’d look for a different garage that could.

    If it is possible to stream pupils successfully in comprehensive schools (as is done in numerous rural areas), do you not think that all schools should then share the responsibility of low ability students.

    I certainly don’t. Regardless, dunreavynomore is right: streaming is still academic selection. Spreading students around isn’t a solution; students would move from sink schools to sink streams. They would still have the same excuse to blame their life’s woes on.

  • paceparent

    Anyone been at Willis’ educational garage? If I ask for the best what will I get? Just as important how much will the owners decision cost me? Funny how the latest revelations on Minister Ruane don’t merit a response but his nonsense analogies pop up to provide a timely distraction. Little wonder education is steeped in the mess it is.

  • willis

    Paceparent aka

    “Funny how the latest revelations on Minister Ruane don’t merit a response but his nonsense analogies pop up to provide a timely distraction.’

    You may have noticed that this is not the High table at King’s or Trinity (apologies Pete and Mick). If you pitch a funny idea you get a response, if you drone on about how unfair the world is you get the sort of readership your otherwise excellent blog attracts.

    That was good research on Anna Lo/Lagan/PPP by the way. Unfortunately the minister has neither a sense of shame or sense of humour.

    One question though, and I only ask this to give you opportunity to show your wisdom, not because I couldn’t be arsed to do the work myself.

    Is the PPP on the 4 schools announced any further forward than Lagan? Will they not just have to join the log-jam?

  • Willis,
    Do you expect anyone to predict the Minister’s actions or behaviours in relation to education? The only certainty is that the DENI will do whatever suits their purposes and those purposes are a product of Sinn Fein ministers and their direct rule socialist friends.