Hearts and Minds: Educational philosophy death match…

Bob McCartney in his new role as chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association v Dr Alastair Walker, formerly of CCEA and author of the book Selection Challenged: The Case Against Selection for 11+. Given the UUs have been talking about a lack of any deal on education being a deal breaker, it should be good…

  • PACE Parent

    No doubt that Bob McCartney will represent the views and interests of parents and pupils via the National Grammar Schools Association instead of the education cabal comprising the DENI, CCEA,CCMS, GBA and School of Education at Queen’s.

    Let’s hope he gives the usual good value Mick. I’m not sure “death match” is an apt promo line given that the debate on academic selection for grammar schools is over. Parents won that battle despite the vast resources applied by their opponents.

    Given that Tony Gallagher was credited by Alistair Walker for contributing and correcting his writing in Selection Challenged surely Tony should have volunteered to take on Bob?

    Of course…..

  • Lionel Hutz

    i predict that selection will return. just wait and see

  • “Given the UUs have been talking about a lack of any deal on education being a deal breaker”

    ..and given that the Tory lead has all but evaporated presumably they will be leaning on/jumping on/kicking up the arse the diminutive Reginald if he attempts to scupper the fine work of John Major et al over this issue.

    An alliance with mad-dog-right-wing Poles in Europe is bad enough but an alliance with mad-dog-right-wing-Paddies intent on opportunistically crashing Stormont behind the smokescreen of a disagreement over education will surely not be what is required in the run up to a make or break election for Davey.

    Wee Reggie to be called in from the playground, given an early tea and put to bed early.

  • Marcionite

    Not wishing to go off thread but today is the 37th anniversary of the evil Abercorn bombing where two young women lost their lives and many lost limbs and eyes and hearing. I will be making my way to Castle Lane for 430pm today and take a few moments to remember those poor souls.

    It was just a cafe, with women and kids having tea and coffee after a days shopping. The IRA maimed and murdered them because they believed that being ruled by a bankrupt third world republic was worth maiming and killing innocent civilians.

    Those who planted the device are believed to have been teenage girls. If they are still alive, I hope you’ve never had a moments peace for the evil you perpertrated

  • Rory Carr

    “No doubt that Bob McCartney will represent the views and interests of parents and pupils…” thinks “Pace parent” without it seems considering that he might not represent the views of those parents and pupils who do not agree with selection and believe it to be fundamentally biased in favour of those pupils from higher-income families and harshly discriminatory against pupils from less economically advantaged homes.

    But perhaps Pace parent does not consider that the views and interests of this latter group are worth considering or that their educational welfare might be a matter of concern, although I do appreciate that it may not be of much concern to himself or to Bob McCartney..

  • PACE Parent

    Rory
    I suggest that you get yourself a copy of the PAC Report on Numeracy and Literacy in Schools in Northern Ireland if you wish to see PACE’s contribution to that debate on behalf of the disadvantaged. For Parents who do not agree with selection there are a myriad of non-selective schools available. Your attempts to misrepresent PACE do you no favours. Just watch Hearts and Minds this evening. I’m sure you will learn something new.

  • PACE Parent

    Marcionite on Mar 04, 2010 @ 03:23 PM

    I’m with you on the Abercorn. I had a girlfriend who used to work there on Saturdays and I also briefly worked with Janet Bereen’s dad at the Royal. Janet was one of those killed while her father worked to help some of those injured not knowing the fate of his daughter. Lest we forget.

  • Marcionite

    yes, she worked as a radiographer. She and her father dedicated their professional lives to healing and helping, unlike the evil ones who took her young life. The scale of the maimings and the horror if it left an indeliable mark on our psyche

    Sorry to hijack the thread btw.

  • Lionel Hutz

    What has happened to Education has been without doubt the most frustrating result of the Sinn Fein/DUP alliance. This attempt to be the most working class parties has produced a chaos with very nice words but without any statistical evidence for their claims.

    You have to ask yourself firstly … should there be a choice when it comes to which school your child goes to. If your answer is no, then it is inevitable that there will be inequality in the education system as no school is the same. If your answer is ‘yes’, then eventually some schools will be more popular than others and there will to be some method selection.

    The latter answer is almost universally agreed to be the correct one, empowering parents and children with control over their own educational fate. What I have yet to see is a fair method of selection in the absence of academic selection. Other criteria already exist in Grammar Schools’ selection criteria pursuant to the Secondary Schools (Admission Crieria) Regulations. Examples are:

    -sibling at the school
    -the child is the eldest
    – sometimes a parent working at the school
    -distance from the school.

    With the exeception of the third quite troubling criterion, the other three will eventually come down to distance from the school.

    For example, How do you choose between two eldest children? Distance from school!

    And if you have a sibling at the school, how did they get there? See above – distance from school.

    So eventually some years down the line, what you will have is that a good school will be one of the biggest factors in house prices in a locality. House prices near good schools will go up as young parents try to purchase them. House prices outside these areas will decline. Eventually you will have a more segregated class society with deprived inner city colleges such as those in england.

    I cannot see how econimically disadvantaged children can benefit. To some extent, academic selection was a kind of leveller. Because if you got the grade, it didn’t matter where you came from. Now ofcourse that is simplistic, because elements such as tutoring come into it which only better off parents can afford. But surely that could be resolved with some initiative. My position has always been that Academic Selection is the lesser of evils and that efforts should have been put into making academic selection fairer. My particular suggestions would have been raising the age of children and also that assessment be carried out over several standardised tests over a couple of academic years.

    I am aware that Ruane has recommended a minimum number of ‘free school meal’ admissions. I found this argument startling. I went to a small rural primary school where about a fifth where on free school meals. I refuse to believe I had an advantage over them in the 11+. But even with that, the most startling aspect of Ruane’s criterion, was that the number of Free School Meals admission was significantly disproportionate to those who are actually recieving free school meals (I dont have the figures, but it appeared to me that the ratio was something like 2:1 of what it should be).

    Even if you buy the argument that the less well off you are the more disadvantaged in the 11+, surely this is a relative thing and therefore the free school meal criterion will serve to significantly disadvantage those who were just about over the threshold income level to mean they had to pay. Those people, who for my money, would represent the majority of working class/lower middle class families.

    The argument’s presented by Sinn Fein are about 30 years to old, catering for a nationalist community so disadvantaged in the 70s and 80s. She comnpletely forgets how relatively affluent our society has become, and the significant discriminatory (to use her words) affect that her measures will have on aspirational working class men and women who do well for themselves but just not well enough!

  • Lionel Hutz,

    “If your answer is ‘yes’, then eventually some schools will be more popular than others and there will to be some method selection.

    The latter answer is almost universally agreed to be the correct one”.

    Why do think even the Tories are not arguing for the re-introduction of the 11 plus in Britian – where perhaps 80% of the population don’t have the supposed benefit of it?

  • Kevsterino

    It seems to me the problem lies in the effort politicians have spent to make education a touchstone issue dividing the community along the old rut of unionist vs. nationalist.

    It does the children and future of Northern Ireland no benefit that education, of all things, became a cog in the eternal constitutional argument wheel. Maybe if the parents of children currently in school organised and demanded resolution to the issue of secondary education it would focus the politicians’ minds.

  • LottaNonsense

    Re. selection I would ask the question – Why is it that no other country in the world operates an 11+ type system, including GB. Are we right and everyone else is wrong?

    We should also remember that it’s GB that pours over £10Billion of subsidies into Northern Ireland every year.

    When you think about it, they’ve had Comprehensive education in GB since the sixties so logically all these Comprehensive educated people are now running the GB economy and are producing the £10Billion to keep Northern Ireland going – including the education sector.

    The GB economy is now the 4th largest in the world so no-one can really say that Comprehensive education has wrecked their society? – Can they?

  • Reader

    Moderate Unionist: Why do think even the Tories are not arguing for the re-introduction of the 11 plus in Britian – where perhaps 80% of the population don’t have the supposed benefit of it?
    Their children go private. The private sector is far larger in England than it is over here. You want here to be more like over there?

  • Reader,

    We are talking Britian not England, there are many excellent comprehensives and many bad ones and the good ones dont just follow the high house prices.

    “The private sector is far larger in England than it is over here.” Perhaps, have you got the figures?

    What is disappointing is that there is no voice for non selection in the Unionist political community except in the PUP. Unionism really needs to untangle it’s ideology from right wingery for the sake of it’s own credibility and health.

  • Harry J

    We should also remember that it’s GB that pours over £10Billion of subsidies into Northern Ireland every year. …………….

    as they do with other regions of the UK, outside of the south / south east most of the UK is receiving subsidy from London

  • Medillen

    “The argument’s presented by Sinn Fein are about 30 years to old, catering for a nationalist community so disadvantaged in the 70s and 80s. She comnpletely forgets how relatively affluent our society has become, and the significant discriminatory (to use her words) affect that her measures will have on aspirational working class men and women who do well for themselves but just not well enough!”

    L Hutz,

    Come done to the real world and see how affluent our society has become, with some the highiest levels of child poverty and unemployment in western Europe. The ivory towers that these defenders of elitism have erected are being exposed and are collapsing as this process continues.

  • Reader

    Moderate Unionist: …and the good ones dont just follow the high house prices.
    Correct – the high house prices follow the good schools. The distinction is just in the timing.
    Moderate Unionist: Perhaps, have you got the figures?
    Across the UK about 7% of pupils attend public schools, though that will be higher in the secondary sector and lower in primary. Here in NI there are apparently about 1300 schools – what percentage are public schools? I don’t know. I would guess a lot less than 7%.

  • LottaNonsense

    Harry J

    I accept your point, but that wasn’t the point I was making.

    I was saying that if the comprehensive system is so bad, how come GB can have an economy that can afford to put £10Billion into N. Ireland and OK, Yes, also similar amounts into other areas of the UK??

    After all, logically, the GB economy is now being run by people who went through the comprehensive system in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s!

  • Catherine

    L Hutz, I agree with much of what you say, but in particular I believe academic selection ( originally opposed by Unionists in Northern Ireland), has greatly benefited the Nationalist community, and Sinn Fein’s ideological insistence on ending selection is mind boggling.

    There are a myriad of problems within the academic selection process that should be addressed- age, private tutoring, standards of teaching in ‘poorer’ schools, etc etc, but ending academic selection entirely, is a very bad move.

  • PACE Parent

    Clearly a lot of material cut from the exchanges on Hearts & Minds. (To fit in Paisley homage)
    This judge scored a knockout for McCartney when Walker foolishly led with the “11-plus is stressful child abuse line” fed him by his seconds. McCartney saw the opening and floored Walker (and the reset of the cabal) with his “you can’t have it both ways” combo. [Claiming that the 11-plus stigmatises children as failures and at the same time promoting secondaries as beacons of academic excellence with stellar results]
    Walker ended up shaken and grasping for the towel himself by claiming to support parental rights for a choice for academic selection. A choice which he and most of the other prominent anti-selectionists (including his co-author Tony Gallagher) have used for themselves.
    If Tony wants the Lonsdale Belt on academic selection he is going to have to come out of his hiding place and fight for it.

  • PACE Parent

    Kevsterino on Mar 04, 2010 @ 05:55 PM
    “Maybe if the parents of children currently in school organised and demanded resolution to the issue of secondary education it would focus the politicians’ minds.”
    Where have you been?
    The Belfast Telegraph Sit Down Sort it Out campaign fronted by Tony Gallagher and the Belfast Media Group have both had a bash. Utter flops since even the primary school children know that there is no possible compromise on the principle of academic selection. Even poor Tory toff Michael Gove had to be taught that lesson when he foolishly talked of non-selective grammar schools. The NGSA had to point him to the law defining a grammar school.
    The selection issue has been sorted out.
    The parental view measured in 2002 by the DENI Household Survey still prevails even in a private or unregulated system. Academic selection for grammar school entry is secured and ongoing. Get over it. That’s plurality and democracy.
    What Cardinal Brady does with his schools is his problem. There is plenty of room for all in the other grammars.

  • Kevsterino

    PACE parent,

    Pardon me for being facetious.

  • PACE Parent

    Begging your pardon Kevsterino.
    Which side of the divide are you from? Selection or anti-selection?

  • LottaNonsense

    I see that no-one can answer my question above i.e. if 11+ selection is so good then why is it that no other modern equivalent country (or even a region within a country i.e. GB) has 11+ selection. I ask again – are we right here in N. Ireland, and everyone else is wrong??

  • Lionel Hutz

    Lottanonsense:

    “When you think about it, they’ve had Comprehensive education in GB since the sixties so logically all these Comprehensive educated people are now running the GB economy and are producing the £10Billion to keep Northern Ireland going – including the education sector.”

    I’m sorry please don’t tell me you’re serious? Do you think that those who went to comprehensives run the UK? Pardon me, but I was under the impression that Britain was run by the elite ‘public school boys’, whether that be politics or the city leaders

    Comprehensive schools do a good job, I’m not denying that. I have alot of time for them but I also have alot of time for Grammar Schools. The way they have been vilified by Sinn Fein is completely out of sync with how most people view them.

    Moderate UNionist,

    Education in the rest of the UK is constantly a hot topic. City Academy’s have become fashionable and then unfashionable methods of dealing with the very real problems that removing selection has caused. I often hear commentators bemoan how what they seemed to do to bring ‘equality’ was to destroy the top schools rather than work on the comprehensives and secondary schools.

    The fact remains that it is more difficult now for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to make it to the top universities than it was 30 years ago.

    Medellin

    “Come done to the real world and see how affluent our society has become, with some the highiest levels of child poverty and unemployment in western Europe. The ivory towers that these defenders of elitism have erected are being exposed and are collapsing as this process continues.”

    Are seriously suggesting to me that the nationalist community has not come a long way in the last generation. My parents came from poverty. My father was the first in his family to be properly educated and he made the most of it, which was only possible because of the 11+. The result is that I would probably be regarded as middle class.

    The Nationalist community benefitted most from Academic Selection, although I believe that Unionists will suffer most from its removal as state grammars are in my view more likely to go rogue and become private schools.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Lottanonsense

    “I see that no-one can answer my question above i.e. if 11+ selection is so good then why is it that no other modern equivalent country (or even a region within a country i.e. GB) has 11+ selection. I ask again – are we right here in N. Ireland, and everyone else is wrong??”

    Well, most countries seem to have a pathways type system with three or four “staging posts” thorughout ones education. Quite often academic selection is commonplace at 14, something I would buy into. I do think that 11 is too young.

    HOwever, I think you’ll find that in systems that attempt to be avoid selection and push this pc ‘equality’ project have a large private sector which the rich kids go to. So if you’re question is about whose right – I’d be bold enough to say we are.

    I’d be a bit more ambituous and attempt to change the system to the best education system in the world. I’d raise the age of selection and at that point put increased emphasis on pathways. Many people are wasted in grammar schools when they may have talents more suited to vocational pathways. Why not have guts and try to do something special. Why settle for Ruane’s chaos?

  • Kevsterino

    PACE Parent,
    I try not to take a side on the selection issue, being as I’m so far away in St. Louis, Missouri.

    I attended high school back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and we struggled to get into the best school we could. I went through the Catholic school system here, and I suspect Jesuit schools are run pretty much the same in whatever country they are located. It was a rather demanding environment.

    My only point on the whole subject there is that the view of the parents whose children are in the system has to be regarded as paramount.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Kevsterino,

    They evidence is there that parents overwhelmingly support the principle of selection. I would argue though that there is a mandate to change the system but just within the principle of selection

  • LottaNonsense

    Lionel

    Yes – I am being serious.

    Private education in the UK represents less than 0.6% of the total UK education sector – Are you saying that all these private school boys/girls now run the country?

    In terms of GB:
    What about the engineers in Rolls-Royce? – Are they all private school educated?
    What about all the accountants in the 10’s of thousands of small/medium business in GB? – Are they all private school educated?
    What about all the Teachers – Are they all private school educated?
    What about all the Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers? – Are they all private school educated?
    What about all the Research scientists? – Are they all private school educated?
    Etc…
    Etc…

    Again I say, no-one can answer the question: Little auld Norn Ireland is the only country among any developed country our region that seems to want this 11+ selection – so we’re right & everyone else is wrong – is that what we’re saying??

  • LottaNonsense

    Lionel

    I’ve just noticed your second answer above, and I think we’re in agreement. However, you seem to contradict yourself – You seem to support a 3-4 stage evaluation system including a key stage selection/choice time at age 14: I agree.

    I’m against this one size fits all, one stage, one time selection at 11.

    However, you then go on to say you’d rather have what we have now i.e. this one-time selection at 11???

  • Again, the argument is supposedly between either the 11+ or comprehensives. Again nobody is discussing the Dickson Plan. It has been in operation in the Craigavon area for forty years. It works. It is near-universally popular. Opinion polls in the rest of NI have shown that it would be welcomed if introduced province-wide.

    Take your fingers out of your ears, people. The solution is right there.

  • LottaNonsense

    Andrew Gallagher – Spot on, totally agree!!

  • Lionel Hutz

    LottaNonsense,

    In an ideal world, I’d have secondary education divided into two stages, junior and senior high schools if you like. I do believe there should be some form of academic selection at each stage as I think it is the fairest method of support parental choice, which I see as paramount. I would wish to have more safegaurds in place so that a single test does not define a childs future, be that an assessment that is carried out over atleast one academic year to reduce the error or a system of annual review to cater for slower developers. I would also like to see an increased emphasis on vocational pathways.

    I have to accept though that these things are not possible in the short term and here’s my most immediate concern. What Ruane has done serves nobody! We should change the system, the 11+ was dysfunctional but you cannot just act like a big wrecking ball destroying what you percieve to be a ‘cancer’ (as Ruane has put it) but taking out alot of the healthy bits at the same time.

    Whatever we do, it has got to be a long process taking atleast 10 – 20 years. I dont pretend to have all the answers but I am firm in the belief that what Ruane is proposing will cause more distress and more inequality than the previous flawed system. What really gets me is how this is wrapped up in bleeding heart pc hyperbole? I actually believe the woman is unhinged.

    Regarding the GB point. Comprehensive educated kids can do well, they can do very well but public school boys will always have a leg up. That sector increased because of the demolition of the old Grammar School. Elite schools will continue, there is an ever-increasing demand for them. Parents will do whatever it takes to get their child into one of these schools but ultimately it will be the reserve of those who can afford it.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Andrew,

    The Dickson plan is quite popular but its not near universal. I went to school in dungannon and there where a quite significant number of pupils travelling all the way to my school from portadown and the surrounding area.

    It is astonishing how little air time the dixon plan gets in this whole debate. It does illustrate that the academic selction debate is not a serious ideolical argument, it is a political football used by Sinn Fein much in the same way DUP play with DCAL.

  • Lionel,

    My grandmother still travels to the Dungannon area to visit her GP, despite having lived in Portadown for fifty years. It’s not an indictment of health care in the town…

    Ruane deservedly gets the pointy end of the stick for her incompetence, but it’s not often remarked these days that the problem stems from her predecessor as Education Minister, Martin McGuinness. It was he that ordered the abolition of the 11+ without having a replacement ready.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Come on Andrew,

    You cannot say that the dixon plan has universal support. There is a significant proportion of children going to schools in dungannon and armagh and other areas. In my school, there were atleast two packed ulsterbuses (in fact I think 3) going to Portadown everyday which represented about 10% of the school. Its not an indictment of the system, you’re correct, it just recognises the fact that given the choice, many people will choose another option, much like your grandmother going to her gp.

    You’re right though, McGuinness deserves much of the blame. It Ruane’s particular bloody-mindedness that frustrates me though, I have to say. All the other parties are attempting to provide a solution and she’s just sticking the finger up to them.

  • PACE Parent

    The persistent use of the Dickson straw man is raised to keep selection at 14 on the agenda. This may fit with the education cabal’s long term plan but it has, like the removal of academic selection, been rejected.
    Blaming temporary Education Ministers is also playing the straw man game.
    The principle of academic selection and the difference in education philosophy is the subject of this thread.
    Alistair Walker, on behalf of his former masters at CCEA and the DENI, entirely failed to make his case.
    What was remarkable at the poorly attended book launch for Selection Challenged, at Queen’s Canada Room was the absence of education committee politicians, particularly from the Minister’s party, DUP and the UU.
    Walker’s co-author, Professor Tony Gallagher, didn’t turn up either.

    That says it all. Perhaps he was busy trying to find some staff for his school who actually have some classroom teaching experience.

    Laura Lundy is his latest professorial appointment. All hail to Tony the Pope of Queen’s. Wonder what Laura’a classroom experience looks like?

    Perhaps the BBC Hearts & Minds team will check it out. If Maggie Taggart knows she’s certainly not telling.

  • The persistent use of the Dickson straw man is raised to keep selection at 14 on the agenda. This may fit with the education cabal’s long term plan but it has, like the removal of academic selection, been rejected.

    Sorry, what? Straw man? Rejected by whom?

  • PACE Parent

    By none other than Professor Tony Gallagher, the anti-selectionist, in the following report to the DENI in 1998.
    J. Alexander, P Daly, A Gallagher, C Gray and A Sutherland, An Evaluation of the Craigavon Two-Tier System, Research Report No 12, DENI 1998.

    Back in those days before the DENI gave him the contract to attempt to undermine the 11-plus, our Tony used the more establishment-like A.M. Gallagher. Now that he’s a member of the Senate at Queen’s he’s Tony.

    Don’t be fooled Andrew. Dickson won’t be Dickson without academic selection. Parents will be robbed of choice. That’s not good now is it?

  • PACE Parent,

    If you want to argue with me, please try to take issue with something I actually said, rather than something you think I said.

    it has, like the removal of academic selection, been rejected.

    But Tony Gallagher didn’t reject the removal of academic selection, quite the opposite. You’ll forgive my confusion.

  • Michael Gillespie

    The Selection Debate.

    Listening to the debate on selection between Dr Walker and Mr Mc Cartney brought me back to the days of Harold Wilson and Old Labour. At that tine I was Belfast president of a teacher’s union and dealing with selection was part of the union remit. I was of the opinion then as I am now that selection is a sine qua non of education beginning with the awarding of different coloured stars for varying standard of work performance at primary school to the awarding of different quality degrees for varying standard of work performance at university. Since selection is part and parcel of schooling the question is who should do the selecting and at what age?

    Selection at eleven is quite arbitrary. It was adopted after the 1948 Education Act. Then compulsory schooling ended at 14. It was felt that secondary education should be at least 3 years so selection was set at 11. For Mr Mc Cartney and the D.U.P. that age is now sacred and is set in stone. Margaret Thatcher claimed that the Conservatives would roll back the state. The D.U.P. and Mr Mc Cartney should take a leaf out of Margaret’s book and roll back state selection out of the lives of children and leave them free to select themselves So at what age should children select themselves and how should they do it?

    Children should be free to select themselves at 14 when they are old enough to envisage a future career path for themselves. At eleven they should go to local unselected secondary schools and be placed in all ability classes in junior secondary. Since all ability classes are workable at primary level all ability classes should be workable at junior secondary up to the age o f 14. Beginning at primary level and continuing up to 14 there should be a personal history of each child compiled. The technology for doing this is now available. Using this history for each pupil at 14 the school population should be divided into three houses according to ability. The German model where there is selection would be useful. In Germany there is the Gymnasium for academic high flyers, the Realschule for those of lesser academic ability with career future in technical and business education and the Kauptwschule for the least academically able. Using this model the secondary school population should select themselves into three houses on the advice of parents and career staff using the history of each individual pupil.

    IN the days of Old Labour the problem in education was seen as under performance of pupils in inner city working class areas when compared with the performance in school with pupils from middle class districts in the suburbs. The answer to this by Old Labour was Comprehensives where all children irrespective class would be educated under the one roof. This proved to be false. The performance of comprehensives in the inner cities in many cases were of bog standard while the standards of comprehensives in the leafy suburbs tended to be high. IN schools of middle class/ working-class population the awards at prize giving tend to be carried off by pupils from middleclass backgrounds. In my view the reason for this is due to the relative value of importance middle class and working class families give to education.

    This is true of Belfast. At the time of Harold Wilson I was doing research in education at Q.U.B. into numeracy in the Inner City in Belfast. The research found that at the end of primary schooling one third of the school population in the Inner City were innumerate. If this research had been carried out in the leafy Malone numeracy levels there would have been much higher. To correct this more state resource should be put into primary education in the inner city.

    The educational argument surrounding selection at eleven is inconclusive. What has emerged is a moral argument, which is closer to the point. Is it morally right or not to place children at too young an age under the stress of an hour long exam that determines there future and divides them into sheep and derisory goats or should selection be based on assessment carried out over many years and division of pupils takes place at 14 when they are capable of electing for a future appropriate to each individual. For me the second option is preferable.

    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein

  • PACE Parent

    Andrew you may claim confusion but the record shows that on Mar 05, 2010 @ 12:28 AM you introduced the straw man stating;
    “the argument is supposedly between either the 11+ or comprehensives. Again nobody is discussing the Dickson Plan. It has been in operation in the Craigavon area for forty years. It works. It is near-universally popular. Opinion polls in the rest of NI have shown that it would be welcomed if introduced province-wide.
    Take your fingers out of your ears, people. The solution is right there.”

    PACE don’t pick fights but have a healthy track record of ending them. The education cabal are well aware of their pending downfall. The politicians can’t save them now.

    I have simply pointed out with evidence that one of the education cabal opposed to parental choice and academic selection is Tony Gallagher.
    Of course Gallagher hasn’t rejected the ending of regulated academic selection at 11 – it’s his goal to see testing ended hence the revised curriculum, another CCEA Trojan horse. I refer you to a quotation taken form Walker’s book which asserts

    ” “Permitting the chaos of unregulated selection is unacceptable even if it is viewed as a step towards a worthy goal.”

    http://www.gtcni.org.uk//index.cfm/area/News/page/News/news_key/481/

    Since Gallagher is credited by Walker as having read the text prior to publication a reasonable person will conclude that this statement was not eligible for correction by Gallagher.

    Just who do Walker and Gallagher think they are to make such statements about an unregulated and private arrangement between parents and schools?

    Just to end your confusion Andrew the ending of academic selection by testing at 11 has been rejected by the vast majority of parents in much the same way that the Dickson Plan as a solution to be applied throughout N.Ireland has been rejected by Gallagher in his report to the DENI and by parents likely to be affected in cities such as Belfast and Londonderry.

  • willis

    Maybe the Dickson Plan is a Straw Trojan Horse.

    As a limited experiment it proved that you could get rid of academic selection at 11 in Northern Ireland and still have a system that was popular with virtually all of the parents and children who used it.

    Note I say “used it” because many did not and still do not even though they live in the catchment area.

    It is a moot point as to why or if it has been rejected as an all-encompassing solution. Some reject it because they want selection at 11 others want selection at 17 via A levels.

    I did like this line from Mr Walker’s piece in the Tele.

    “I am convinced that there is no testing system in existence that is capable of taking two quite average children and predicting reliably that, over the next five years, one will benefit from a grammar school place while the other will not”

    What a lovely idea, a test that will predict if you will benefit from a Grammar School education.
    I would imagine that all the parents and children who signed up for the AQE/GL tests believed that they would benefit from a Grammar School education.

    I just wish we were as keen to devise a test that would show that you would benefit from a Non-Grammar school education.

  • PACE parent,

    I was not introducing a straw man – I seriously believe the Dickson Plan has merit. How is keeping selection at 14 on the agenda a bad thing? You want to retain selection. The only thing I’m confused by is your hostile attitude towards my earlier posting.

  • PACE Parent

    Andrew
    Perhaps you have little sense of the importance of the principle of academic selection in relation to grammar schools. The 1951 Advisory Committee on Education estimated that “14% of the results of the 1948 selection process( 11-plus) had been what they called “misfits”.
    Misfits consisted of an equal number of those who should have gone to grammar school but failed the exam and did not do so, and those who passed the exam, went to grammar school, but should not have done so.
    They had recommended a Review Procedure at age 12 or 13 which would enable such mistakes to be corrected, inasmuch as it ever could be possible to correct a mistake of that nature”

    What the minister and the education cabal propose is that that misclassification of need, by removing selection, be extended to include all pupils at 11.
    That is comprehensivisation Andrew.
    Adopting the Dickson model means the introduction of comprehensives from 11-14.

    It’s a pity that the proponents of comprehensive education are afraid to say the name.
    Any hostility that you perceive to the suggestion of selection at 14 may be based on an immediate recognition of the threat it introduces. Comprehensivisation by the back door.

    Parents are interested in how, if introduced against their wishes, the education cabal could ever “correct a mistake of that nature”.

  • willis

    PACE

    We can be clear that we currently have a “comprehensive” system from 5-11 and a selective system from 18+, some would argue that selection currently happens at GCSE 16+.

    The crucial difference between selection at 11 and selection at 16 is the person doing the selecting. By 16 students have a pretty good idea what they are good at whereas at 11 often selection is done “to” them.

    Just out of interest. As a result of the Review Procedure did many kids leave Grammar Schools or was the traffic one way?

  • Any hostility that you perceive to the suggestion of selection at 14 may be based on an immediate recognition of the threat it introduces. Comprehensivisation by the back door.

    That’s the slippery slope argument, and it’s a depressingly common logical fallacy. You don’t seem to have any arguments against the Dickson Plan itself, so you resort to scaremongering about cabals and back doors.

    Do you have any constructive suggestions, or are you just crying “Not an inch!”

  • PACE Parent

    The Dickson Plan only works for some Andrew because of the availability to opt out at 11 for others. In a deregulated system the option (choice) is removed. You should have paid more attention to Lionel’s earlier posting.

    Your sorry attempt at political sectarianism over rejection of Dickson is pretty pathetic. You do need to hear the message -transfer is now a private matter. The education cabal is real and comprehensive schools is their reality.