“thereby initiating in Northern Ireland a postcode lottery for parents and pupils”

In the Guardian Henry McDonald has a lengthy report on the privatised post-primary transfer system we now have. Of particular interest is the warning, from Frank Bunting, northern secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, of potential legal action.

Teachers’ unions have confirmed that the grammars, both state and Catholic, may end up in the courts if they turn down children on the basis of them not having sat the selection tests. “I don’t think there is any doubt that there will be legal challenges facing the grammars when the decisions are taken on who gets in early next year,” says Frank Bunting, northern secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (Into). Bunting, whose union has 6,500 members in Northern Ireland, says the challenges are likely to come in areas where the education minister’s party, Sinn Féin, is strongest.

Hmm..
And, also in the Guardian report, some comments from the principal of Lumen Christi College in Londonderry

Despite being under siege from the combined forces of the department of education, the Catholic church and the teaching union, Lumen Christi’s principal, Patrick O’Doherty, believes there is strength in numbers.

“Lumen Christi was indeed the first Catholic college to opt for an entrance test,” he says, “but since then over 30 Catholic grammar schools and several non-Catholic schools, including integrated schools, have joined together in a consortium arrangement, sharing a common entrance assessment. Children can thus sit the examination in any of these schools and apply for a place in any other on the basis of their test score. The test is based on English and mathematics taught in the primary school curriculum.”

Like many defenders of the grammar schools, O’Doherty contends that the department’s alternative guidelines for school admissions will come down to a crude postcode lottery.

“It remains the intention of the college to operate academic selection in the near future, since the board of governors is committed to providing an excellent academic education for those pupils who seek such an educational pathway. The board believes that academic selection is both the most educationally sound and the most equitable means of selection, rather than compelling pupils to attend their nearest local comprehensive and thereby initiating in Northern Ireland a postcode lottery for parents and pupils,” says O’Doherty.

“However, like all grammar schools in Northern Ireland, Lumen Christi would have preferred to avoid the use of an entrance test altogether, and had lobbied the minister for education to allow schools to use ongoing primary school assessments and pupil profiles for the purpose of academic selection, thus avoiding the need for an entrance examination.”

Using the pupil profiles Annual School Reports in that way would seem to be a very sensible suggestion. But I would say that having suggested it myself..

, , , ,

  • willis

    It will indeed be a fine sight to see Sinn Fein bringing the full might of the British Courts to bear on Catholic schools, particularly in Derry.

  • Rory Carr

    Like many defenders of the grammar schools, O’Doherty contends that the department’s alternative guidelines for school admissions will come down to a crude postcode lottery.

    Some of us, including myself, may be forgiven for thinking that O’Doherty’s concerns over selection based upon “a crude postcode lottery” may skew more in the direction of fearing that the children of the better-off may not be best able to ensure entrance to the scholl of their choice under such a system and that those that do may wind up sharing the facilities with the children of a lesser God.

    A postcode lottery may not be ideal but it is infinitely preferable to a selection system which effectively discriminates against the children of the poorer in society in favour of the children of those better off.

    If there is to be a challenge in the courts to the discriminatory intent of these maverick schools then I most certainly hope that Sinn Fein will be giving their full support to such action and it wouldn’t do the DUP much harm to join them considering the support it draws from the working class unionist in whose interests it would be to combat this reactionary move by these schools.

  • Rory Carr

    In my first paragraph above that would be “school of their choice” rather than “scholl”. I am sure that they are more than able to make the necessary selection of the appropriate orthapedic sandals for the dear ones and I have no conflict in that regard whatsoever.

  • Coll Ciotach

    I do not regard the grammars as being unfairly discriminatory against the poor. They do discriminate fairly between those who do well in their tests. Not the same thing.

  • willis

    “However, like all grammar schools in Northern Ireland, Lumen Christi would have preferred to avoid the use of an entrance test altogether, and had lobbied the minister for education to allow schools to use ongoing primary school assessments and pupil profiles for the purpose of academic selection, thus avoiding the need for an entrance examination.”

    Wishful thinking there I fear. It may be Lumen Christi’s preference, but I don’t think the AQE schools would be keen.

    Done right, it is the next best thing to the Dickson Plan, but the room for “sharp-elbowed” parents to up their child’s report is a real fear.

  • igor

    Legal challenges? So what?

    There may of course be a few more challenges against teh Department for failing to provide a proper system of education.

  • elvis parker

    Shameful attempt at bullying and intimidation by Bunting – but then he is a socialist!

  • If you were the head of a grammar school, would you bet the survival of the whole system on the legal outcome of a challenge to unofficial selection? If one case wins, and a judge endorses the guidelines over the unofficial testing, then hundreds of kids who took the test will be shown to have wasted their time.
    The principals may win when the case comes – as more than Bunting believe it will – but if they lose the scale of the calamity for those grammar schools is enormous.

  • AlanAlan

    It won’t just be shinners taking them to court but will also be any vexatious middle class parent whose kid doesn’t get into the school of their choice.

    This whole episode is bizarre – a willful self immolation by the grammar sector. They may be good at churning out lawyers, but they seem feeble at taking advice.

    And there stands Patrick O’Doherty in a new school paid for by the state, saying he will only teach who he wants to teach, no matter what the state may wish.

  • The proposition that a postcard lottery has been hereby initiated obscures the fact that where you live already has a direct influence on the type of school you go to. IIRC, over half of children in the BELB area go to selective schools, by contrast with just over a third in the SELB area.

  • Coll Ciotach

    What would happen if the grammars point blank refuse to accept the ruling of the court and threaten to close rather than impliment the imposition of the state over the parent?

    An ever larger crises looms.

    This debacle over education can only get worse. Why can the socialists not accept parental choice and freedom and leave the grammars alone. if the really had the interests of the children at heart they would give those in need of more help more resources.

    The real problem here is not education per se. The problem is the dictat that all are equal. This is then taken to ridiculous lengths and so they try to legislate against success and failure. We are all different with different capabilities. Not that that makes us more or less valuable as people, just different. However socialists see this as wrong, we should all be identikit people with little difference so we sould all go to university get degrees and so on. That some do not negates a core belief. So education has to become a process that produces only equals.

    In effect they will produce a system which will descend to a miasma of mediocrity.

    Allow the children and parents their choice. They have choosen to send their children to the grammars. Allow them that without penalty. Allow freedom

  • waziotter

    Who runs this system? Is it a combination of Frank Spencer and Normal Wisdom? If you want to get rid of selective secondary education (and I think that on the whole this is a good idea, although I don’t think people who disagree are stupid or evil) it is VERY simple to do. Here’s how.

    First, DENI issues an admissions code. It basically says “You can admit who you like to your school if you are willing to pay for it. But if you want public money, your admissions criteria must adhere to the following rules… One of them is to prohibit selection on the basis of academic ability”. You can wrap all manner of other anti-discriminatory good stuff in there too. If some schools don’t like it, call their bluff. There are a load of excess school places in NI at the minute, so there will be enough room for all the kids who are out there. Some schools might decide to go fee-paying. In which case good luck to them. Far more will huff and puff but take the DENI shilling, bitching and moaning all the way to the bank. Hardly any will choose to close – do they really want to sack a load of teachers and ruin their own careers rather than accept a few rough kids on to the campus?

  • kensei

    CC

    What would happen if the grammars point blank refuse to accept the ruling of the court and threaten to close rather than impliment the imposition of the state over the parent?

    You think teachers want to give their jobs up in this climate? One will close if they really want to and the rest will fall in line. It’s possible some may go private, but the Catholic Church will squish any on its side of the fence that try it.

  • oldruss

    Testing, per se, is problematic. Our education system here in the States, while quite different from that in the six counties, has come to rely more and more on standardized testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the public schools and the progress that individual students are making.

    Given a large enough statistical pool, it seems apparent that economic and social background plays an inordinate role in test scores. In general, the lower the income levels of the students’ families the lower the test scores.

    Many students in addition to having difficult economic backgrounds which lead to lower scores, have learning disabilities which affect how they learn and how well they perform on standardized tests. There is a perpetual discussion in education circles over how best to accomodate these students once they are identified.

    Education is tax supported for all students from K-12th grade. It is “free”, being supported by the taxpayers of the district and state. If parents choose to place their children in religious schools, and these are primarily but not exclusively, Catholic, or in a non-parochial private preparatory school, that is the parents’ choice, but there are sizeable tuition payments which much be met.

    The public “free” schools must take all students living in their geographic district. Private schools both parochial and non-parochial use testing to screen applicants.

    If a school child is denied admission to his neighborhood school in the six counties, (controlled or maintained) that is supported by taxpayer money, because he did poorly on an admissions exam, it seems that the state is discriminating against that child. Such discrimination would seem to be as reprehensible as discrimination based on race, for example.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: A postcode lottery may not be ideal but it is infinitely preferable to a selection system which effectively discriminates against the children of the poorer in society in favour of the children of those better off.
    A ‘Postcode Lottery’ would be positively benign compared with the *actual* result of ending selection: ‘Postcode Selection’ – which is not a lottery at all, and depends on how much money you can spend buying a house in the catchment area of a good school; or failing that, buying a house a long way from a bad estate.

  • Jen Errik

    “If a school child is denied admission to his neighborhood school in the six counties, (controlled or maintained) that is supported by taxpayer money, because he did poorly on an admissions exam, it seems that the state is discriminating against that child. Such discrimination would seem to be as reprehensible as discrimination based on race, for example.”

    But discrimination is unfair treatment based on prejudice. So, if I’m tone deaf and apply to get into my local choir school (assuming there was one), I wouldn’t call it discrimination if they refused to take me. They’re selecting for singing ability, and I have none.

    I’m pro-selection, though I’d like to see it take place at 14, but there’s clearly a sensible case to be made against selection.

    And while I disagree that selection on academic merit is directly discriminatory, I would agree that there is a sense in which it is indirectly discriminatory in that, for all sorts of reasons, middle class children traditionally do better at school, and so the outcome of the test may partially depend on the child’s socio-economic background.

    However, part of the reason I have doubts about the comprehensive system (where the child goes to the nearest school) is that I taught for a brief time in a sink (failing) school in London, and it didn’t seem to me true that children from a disadvantaged background had more opportunities under that system.
    Seemed to me that parents in advantageous circumstances moved away, or somehow found the money to pay for private schooling. I think a comprehensive system can be indirectly discriminatory too.

  • Reader

    waziotter: But if you want public money, your admissions criteria must adhere to the following rules… One of them is to prohibit selection on the basis of academic ability
    DENI can’t impose that rule because the minister can’t get such a restriction through the executive. Welcome to power sharing, St Andrews style. Ruane doesn’t have the powers Martin McGuinness had in the same role, thank goodness.

  • oldruss

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but one use of the word “discrimination” implies prejudice, yes. But, if a student is denied a place in his or her school based upon test results, and those results are predicated in large part on that child’s socio-economic status, that’s discrimination, IMHO.

    Regardless of the label you use, employing a standardized test at age 11 to determine the future education of a child, and all the consequences and ramifications that follow seems draconian from where I sit.

  • Reader

    oldress: But, if a student is denied a place in his or her school based upon test results, and those results are predicated in large part on that child’s socio-economic status, that’s discrimination, IMHO.
    “predicated”? Remember the old rule, ‘correlation isn’t cause’. So, before you can prosecute a case for discrimination, you have to eliminate both nature and nurture. That’s a big task. Most zealots struggle to ignore even one of those.

  • Sinn Féin have effectively privatised the 11+, it’s just so ridiculous. Soon, no doubt, they’ll be able to add water to the list.

  • oldruss

    Reader,

    I think a case for discrimination can be made based upon the statistical results themselves, and no nature versus nurture argument is remotely relevant.

    If students whose test scores fall into the lowest quartile, come from families whose incomes fall below the national average, a prima facie case is made that denying them a place in a grammar school based upon those test scores alone constitutes discrimination based on their socio-economic status. Once such a prima facie case of discrimination has been made, the burden is then on the defendant (the state) to go forwared and refute by clear and convincing evidence the prima facie case that has been made by the plaintiffs (the students allegedly discriminated against by the testing).

    Setting aside entirely the issue of discrimination, it is wicked to base the type of all future education available to a child solely on the outcome of one test taken at age 11.

    About test taking, Alfred Einstein wrote, “I would feel under such strain that I felt, rather than going to take a test, that instead, I was walking to the guillotine.”

  • oldruss

    S/B “ALBERT Einstein”

  • Reader

    oldruss: If students whose test scores fall into the lowest quartile, come from families whose incomes fall below the national average, a prima facie case is made that denying them a place in a grammar school based upon those test scores alone constitutes discrimination based on their socio-economic status.
    I repeat ‘correlation isn’t cause’ – you’re not a scientist, then. For brevity, lets make it simplistic and harsh: Sometimes families are poor because they are thick, or lazy, or feckless. The children likewise – whether through nature or nurture it scarcely matters. Now, that really is prima facie!
    In order to prosecute your case, you need to have some idea how strong that effect should be, before you can prove that the outcome is even worse that you really ought to expect.

  • willis

    Reader

    You are pretty much right. Certainly “Correlation isn’t cause”

    However if parents could show that a bright child who is well capable of gaining from a Grammar school education is being denied it due to a personal opposition to selection there may be a care that they have been discriminated against.

  • Barnshee

    “If students whose test scores fall into the lowest quartile, come from families whose incomes fall below the national average, a prima facie case is made that denying them a place in a grammar school based upon those test scores alone constitutes discrimination based on their socio-economic stat”

    Unfortunatly for the anti 11+ brigade a lot of children (my self and four siblings eg) came ” from families whose incomes fall below the national average” the 11+ provided entry to grammar school– university and the professions.

    The SUCCESS of pupils from “lower” socio-economic groups will focus attention on those who fail from the same grouping and ask uncomfortable questions of why some fail and some do not

    In retrospect it was down to endless parental support and sacrifice.

  • Democratic

    Why do the many of the usual suspects speak out against the descriminatory nature of academic selection and the associated social and class segregation it entails – yet have nothing but praise for a system that segregates on the basis on religion instead?……baffling….freedom of choice only when it suits the faithful I suppose.

  • oldruss

    O.K., so there are several posters who disagree with me that the standardized tests given to students at age 11 are “discriminatory” to students from lower income families. We also seem to be stuck on the semantics of “correlation” and “cause”.

    That said, do you want to continue to keep a sizeable number of students from lower income families out of the grammar schools?

    That is the result, is it not, of basing admissions to grammar schools on the standardized test (the 11+)? As a consequence, aren’t a large number of students from lower income families denied the opportunities that a grammar school education brings?

    Perhaps someone can post statistics from the NIEO which show what the median income is for families of grammar school students, and what the median income is for students who don’t make it. I would also like to know how many students each year are denied admission to a grammar school as result of the 11+ test.

  • Reader

    willis: However if parents could show that a bright child who is well capable of gaining from a Grammar school education is being denied it due to a personal opposition to selection there may be a care that they have been discriminated against.
    All schools select on a number of criteria, so I assume you mean parents opposed to academic selection? In which case:
    1) There are plenty of non-selective schools to send their children to anyway.
    2) I don’t see why anti academic-selection parents would be indulged by the law any more than anti natural-selection parents are indulged now.
    3) You don’t need to wait – you can have a test case now – there must be plenty of people wanting to go to university who haven’t done anything to demonstrate they are ready for it.
    4) If it is exams that are the basis of your objection, remember that it was Ruane that prevented Primary schools from cooperating with alternative methods of academic selection. Don’t forget to have a go at her.

  • Reader

    oldruss: That said, do you want to continue to keep a sizeable number of students from lower income families out of the grammar schools?
    I think there are sizeable number of students from all income groups kept out of grammar schools. That is the purpose of selection.
    Your subsequent fishing for statistics is meaningless. You will certainly find that lower income groups are under-represented. That doesn’t prove discrimination, or any other more abstract level of injustice. That’s because you haven’t eliminated the huge likelihood of common cause for the family not doing well in the economy and the child not doing well in school.
    I would be horrified if poor children couldn’t get to grammar schools. I would be staggered if they got there in proportionate numbers. Here we are – somewhere in the middle.

  • oldruss

    Reader,

    The statistics are only meaningless if they show no pattern of discrimination against lower income families, which is precisely what they most likely WILL show.

    If families below the median income in the six counties have a disproportionately low representation in the grammar schools, how do you continue to justify the “selection” process?

    Weeding out the undesireables may be a prerogative of a private school, but grammar schools are publicly funded by the ratepayers are they not?

  • Also remember, even if it could be shown that lower-income students did worse in academic tests, it does not necessarily follow that abolishing academic selection is the best way to address the problem.

  • Reader

    oldruss: The statistics are only meaningless if they show no pattern of discrimination against lower income families, which is precisely what they most likely WILL show.
    Numbers can’t prove discrimination unless you can calculate what the numbers *should* be. Do you actually expect proportionality? Honestly?
    By the way – I hope you aren’t using ‘undesirables’ as a synonym for poor!
    The job of academic selection is to select on academic ability. Tell me why you think a poor kid can’t walk into an exam room and do exactly as well as a rich kid with the same ability and attitude sitting at the next desk. So if he doesn’t, you can’t blame the exam.

  • oldruss

    I used “undesireables” purposefully; the grammar schools and the 11+ exams used to weed out those who are found “unfit” to attend a grammar school, reeks of class arrogance.

    Secondly, I have never said that a student from a lower socio-economic group can’t do well on the 11+ exam, nor do well in a grammar school. The point, which you have so adroitly missed, is that every child should have an equal chance at the best education available, and presumably that means a grammar school education, if that is what the child and his parents want.

    Basing admission to a grammar school and, consequently, basing the best educational opportunities on a single 11+ test, statistically disproportionately disenfranchises students from lower social-economic classes.

    The 11+ discriminates against a whole set of children, but then, perhaps, that is precisely what has been intended all along by those who have run the six counties all these years.

  • barnshee

    used “undesireables” purposefully; the grammar schools and the 11+ exams used to weed out those who are found “unfit” to attend a grammar school, reeks of class arrogance.

    ER NO it reeks of people who fail the test

  • Reader

    oldruss: The 11+ discriminates against a whole set of children, but then, perhaps, that is precisely what has been intended all along by those who have run the six counties all these years.
    The 11+ was invented by a Labour Government after WW2. Its purpose, which it achieved, was to enhance social mobility by basing the style of education on a pupil’s ability to benefit from it, not on the ability to pay. The other planned reforms to the education system were crippled, then selection itself was removed in England. (Equality of opportunity is no substitute for equality of outcome for the left, and no substitute for privilege for the right). As a result of comprehensivisation, the state sector in England is overshadowed by the private sector. We don’t have that problem here. Not yet.
    oldruss: Basing admission to a grammar school and, consequently, basing the best educational opportunities on a single 11+ test, statistically disproportionately disenfranchises students from lower social-economic classes
    No it doesn’t
    Oops – stalemate. Except that I have made an argument, whereas you have neither made an argument nor supplied any evidence.

  • willis

    Reader

    3) You don’t need to wait – you can have a test case now – there must be plenty of people wanting to go to university who haven’t done anything to demonstrate they are ready for it.

    Not a bad comparison,

    http://www.open.ac.uk/about/ou/p7.shtml

    “The Open University was established to be ‘open’, with no entry requirements. Nearly all of our courses continue to have no entry requirements. That’s why we don’t have a heading for ‘entry requirements’ in the course description for most courses.”

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

    Since it was founded, more than 3 million students have studied its courses. It was rated top university in England and Wales for student satisfaction in the 2005[9] and 2006[10] UK government national student satisfaction survey, and second in the 2007 survey.[11]

  • every child should have an equal chance at the best education available, and presumably that means a grammar school education

    You are making a basic error here, and that is that a grammar school is intrinsically “better”. This misses the point of selection, which is to tailor education to the needs of the pupil. Not all people thrive in grammar schools – I have one good friend who was accepted to grammar school but transferred to the local technical college soon after, because grammar school wasn’t better for her.

  • willis

    Andrew

    Would that it were so. No-one was ever selected ‘for’ a technical school or secondary modern, just not selected for a Grammar School. Except that the tech was for those who almost made it into the Grammar.

    Your friend actually shows that even at 11 some students can ‘elect’ to go to the most appropriate school.

    The 11+ would have a lot more credibility if it selected ‘for’ vocational education.

  • Willis,

    I’m not defending the 11+ – my friend was educated under the Dickson Plan, as was I.

  • willis

    Thanks Andrew

    It is staggering that we have a NI system which has been running successfully for 40 years, completely ignored by the Assembly.

  • oldruss

    It would seem that by the use of the term itself, “selection”, one is ranking the quality of various available schools. By scoring high enough on the 11+, one is rewarded with admission to grammar school, and all others, less fortunate, are relegated to lower educational tracks.

    Are students from lower socio-economic classes disproportionately relegated to those lesser educational tracks?

    Regardless of who first established a selection process, the Labour government in England after World War II or whomever, the end result of that system in the six counties amounts to discrimination against students from the lower socio-economic classes, because students from less advantaged backgrounds do less well on standardized tests like the 11+ by statistically significant margins. (At least here in the States the results for standardized tests follow a definite pattern based on socio-economic backgrounds.) While I have previously suggested that the relevant statistical data from the six counties would be useful to this discussion, it has not yet been posted.

    The bottom line is that the 11+ examinations are designed to weed out “undesireable” students and to do so at a very early age, which has life-long consequences. How such a system can be defended in this day and age is a mystery.

  • pace parent

    @oldruss
    Before you get bogged down in the presumed socio-economic relationship to outcomes and attainment measures for Northern Ireland it should be pointed out that the 11-plus (and indeed the obnoxious unregulated tests) are voluntary. The absence of published data on the non-entrants is the key to identifying the failures of the primary school teaching system. It is not academic selection or testing that fails children it is the poverty of aspiration endemic among their teachers and parents. Of course the anti-selectionists know this but prefer to generate smoke and heat rather than light.

  • willis

    Pace parent

    The facts are correct but the reasons are not.

    I think you have said that the current numbers going into Grammar schools are too high already. What would happen if all this “poverty of aspiration” disappeared? 60% of kids going to Grammar school?

  • freeman

    used “undesireables” purposefully; the grammar schools and the 11+ exams used to weed out those who are found “unfit” to attend a grammar school, reeks of class arrogance.

    ER NO it reeks of people who fail the test

    Surely a child should be able to fail the 11+ and still attend a school where a love of academic learning can be acquired? If the child is bright enough he/she shouldn’t need to be given an (unfair?) advantage. What about larger schools and more streaming. The only argument in favour of selection is the shower who are against it.

  • pace parent

    Willis

    The percentage attending grammar schools increased because of the CCEA grading system which took account of the entire Primary 7 cohort rather than just those who sought places.

    Competition for places from all pupils would remove the social selection aspect looming even larger with the unregulated tests. Remember that non-entry for the 11-plus was often based on the advice of teachers and was frequently proved wrong.

    Gallagher recognised that pupils of a similar level at KS2 did better in a grammar school. He described it as “the grammar school effect”. That opportunity should be available to all on the basis of a test of their primary school attainment.

  • willis

    Pace

    The other alternative is of course Integrated Education.

    http://www.nicie.org/newsroom/news_details.asp?id=552&ntype=news

    “Are Integrated Schools popular?
    We currently turn away around 500 pupils a year from integrated schools because of over subscription. This can sometimes be very difficult for parents and children. We hope one day Integrated Education can be provided for everyone who wants it.”

    http://www.nicie.org/aboutus/default.asp?id=30

  • pace parent

    “The other alternative is of course Integrated Education.”

    Whether parents and communities want it or not. The most recent example is in Antrim where Parkhall College, the last controlled secondary school in the town, was changed to integrated status through the intervention of the NEELB, NICIE and a Board of Governors. Parents of pupils from the school or parents of pupils soon to transfer did not seek out this change and were subject to FOUR ballots until the desired result was obtained. How many pupils did Parkhall turn away this year? For the first time in memory Parkhall is undersubscribed.

  • willis

    So it has the status of an Integrated College but is not actually Integrated because not enough Catholics want to enrol?

    If the facts are as you say then it is a sad day but not the first time that Education boards have put Integrated schools where they were not wanted.
    (Balmoral High?)

    Fair play to you for keeping the Board on their toes.

    http://paceni.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/parkhall-foi-revelations-continued/#comments

    However we are missing an Antrim based contributor who knows the other side of the story. If indeed there is one. Clearly if the Board did finally get a vote in favour there must be some parents who want Integrated education in Antrim.

  • willis

    Interesting you should say that “Parents of pupils from the school or parents of pupils soon to transfer did not seek out this change” when there are two Integrated primary schools in the area Rathenraw and Roundtower. Presumably those children are happy to go back into segregated education.?

  • pace parent

    Willis
    The under subscription of Parkhall College in spite of two feeder integrated primary schools puts paid to Michael Wardlow’s perennial whine about pupils being denied places in post-primary integrated schools. The NEELB and NICIE schemed to impose a post-primary integrated school upon Antrim when it already had an organically integrated school for those that wanted to attend. A case of “build it (or steal it) and they will not come” I suspect an FOI will be necessary to uncover the final destinations of the integrated primary pupils from Antrim. Now that I come to think of it Wardlow is no longer chief executive of NICIE

  • willis

    “The NEELB and NICIE schemed to impose a post-primary integrated school upon Antrim when it already had an organically integrated school for those that wanted to attend.”

    Go on surprise me, what does an organically integrated school look like?

    I’m very cynical about organic veg.

  • pace parent

    Do you grow, buy or eat inorganic vegetables Willis? Organic in this context clearly refers to a school made up of pupils from Catholic, Protestant, other faiths and none. It represents a community not some artificial contrivance of ideologues at taxpayer’s expense. Visit any controlled school for a look Willis while they still exist.

  • willis

    http://www.deni.gov.uk/enrolment_by_school_management_type_updated_0809-5.xls

    Controlled Secondary Schools

    Protestants 27,359
    Catholics 538

  • Wills,

    I can’t find those numbers anywhere in the excel file linked.

  • willis
  • pace parent

    Willis,
    I struggle to understand why you choose to be so selective with your DENI data. You haven’t been infected by the same virus that rendered NEELB officials incapable of telling the whole story with figures have you?
    The entire row of information for Controlled secondary schools reads:
    Secondary Controlled Protestant 27,359 Roman Catholic 538 Other Christian 997 Non-Christian 101 Other/No religion/Not recorded 3,771 Total 32,766 (83.4% Protestant)

    Since you appear so concerned about integration of schools please explain why you don’t pick on these figures and start demanding or fixing a change in their management structure.

    Roman Catholic/Other Maintained Protestant 239 Roman Catholic 40,777 Other Christian 64 Non-Christian 56 Other/No religion/Not recorded 210 Total 41,346 (98.6% Roman Catholic)

    and similarly:

    Voluntary Grammar Schools under Catholic Management Protestant 237 Roman Catholic 27,016 Other Christian 82 Non-Christian 44 Other/No religion/Not recorded 100 Total 27,479 (98.3% Roman Catholic)

    You really don’t want the percentages for Protestants do you?

    Not a Prod about the place (unless we can’t keep open without them as in Dominican College)
    Go integrate Willis

  • willis

    Pace

    This is why I enjoy debating with you so much, you do not realise that your high quality research argues my case for me.

    You have just brilliantly made my case! NI education is split on religious grounds and the Controlled sector is having no impact on it.

    You say:

    “Organic in this context clearly refers to a school made up of pupils from Catholic, Protestant, other faiths and none. It represents a community not some artificial contrivance of ideologues at taxpayer’s expense.”

    The numbers show this is nonsense, so you proceed to quote me the numbers for the Maintained sector which is every bit as skewed in the other direction.

    D’oh

    I think we already knew that!

    Go on then Pace show us the figures for the

    “artificial contrivance of ideologues at taxpayer’s expense”

  • pace parent

    Willis
    You flail around in making a case for unequal integration. The Maintained sector isn’t just skewed it is positively uninvolved in integration. Since the government cannot adjust this position they present a case for contrived/forced integrated schooling based upon sectarian headcounts and mythical demand.
    Compare these numbers: Controlled Secondary: Other/No religion/Not recorded 3,771 [11.5%]
    Roman Catholic/Other Maintained: Other/No religion/Not recorded 210 [0.005%]

    The massive difference in these categories is down to a lack of willingness to disclose information. However 11.5% of those in the Controlled sector meet the Other category used by the Integrated sector. The 0.005% contribution from Catholic schools makes your assertion “the numbers for the Maintained sector which is every bit as skewed in the other direction” a nonsense.

    The Controlled sector is organically integrated while the government-funded, imposed, unnecessary, expensive, Integrated sector relies entirely upon a sectarian headcount to exist and the Maintained sector escapes accountability entirely.

    The emergence of the GL Assessment tests for the Catholic grammar schools instead of “integrating” with the AQE CEA tests further demonstrates the practical sectarianism from the Catholic authorities.

    Over to you for a robust defence Willis

  • willis

    “The Controlled sector is organically integrated while the government-funded, imposed, unnecessary, expensive, Integrated sector relies entirely upon a sectarian headcount to exist and the Maintained sector escapes accountability entirely.”

    So what you are saying is that if you removed all choice from parents and children and sent them all to controlled schools there would be integration.

    I thought you were “Parent’s Association for Choice in Education?”

    BTW please tell me which part of education in NI is not Government funded.

    As I have said before, I am opposed to forcible integration. Any serious student of the history of Integrated Education in NI knows that it has been a long hard struggle by parents and children against the vested interests of, inter alia, the very Catholic church you complain about so much.

    As I understand it Parkhall is not yet an integrated school as it cannot attract 10% catholic pupils. This is information you supplied.

    You make many good points about forced integration as well as academic selection but you have to accept that other people hold their beliefs sincerely.

    On the one hand you accuse me of making a case for unequal integration. What is that?

    On the other hand you speak of sectarian head counts yet will not acknowledge the proportions of Catholic and Protestant in the Integrated sector.

    Catholic parents and children were never interested in joining the “organically integrated” controlled sector. Substantial numbers have joined the Integrated sector. I am surprised you cannot acknowledge their right to choose.