“We believe this is a crude attempt to circumvent the proper and long-established channels of financial accountability within education”

The BBC notes the declared intention of the board of governors of  Catholic grammar school Loreto College to end academic selection from 2012 or 2013 – you can check the most recent figures on Loreto’s academically selected intake here.  By the way, how is that review going?  And the BBC report quotes the Catholic Principals’ Association chair Seamus Quinn

CPA chair Seamus Quinn said: “Loreto has followed the moral and spiritual guidance provided by the Commission for Catholic Education (NICCE).

“Their decision is an important step and it directly challenges those claiming that Catholic schools are based upon rejection.

“All children are welcomed to experience academic excellence and personal fulfilment within Catholic schools.

“Rejection of any kind runs contrary to our Catholic ethos.”

[So all applications are accepted? – Ed]  Probably not…

Meanwhile the Belfast Telegraph reports on the Northern Ireland Education Minister Sinn Féin’s Caitríona Ruane’s continuing campaign against the grammar school sector – calling on individual schools to outline how they fund their entrance exams. 

As I indicated previously, “educational choice” is a relative term for some…

From the Belfast Telegraph report

The Governing Bodies Association (GBA), which represents 52 voluntary grammars, has sought legal advice on the Minister’s request.

GBA director John Hart said: “We believe this is a crude attempt to circumvent the proper and long-established channels of financial accountability within education.

“Frankly if the minister has washed her hands of responsibility for academic selection she would be better letting those with a more responsible approach get on with it instead of petty badgering,” he added.

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, chair of AQE, said: “You can be assured that before proceeding as it did the AQE took the best possible legal advice and I have no doubt individual schools also did so.”

And the paper recently reported on the 71,916 “unoccupied seats and desks” in primary and post-primary schools in Northern Ireland.

‘Unfilled places’ is defined as the difference between the approved enrolment number — which can be increased by the department temporarily — and the actual enrolment.

Ms Ruane’s response in April shows there are 67,037 unfilled places in total in primary schools and 18,379 in post-primary schools. But the 85,416 overall total has to be reduced by 13,500 to account for the pupils with statements of special needs who are admitted over and above approved enrolment numbers.

Whatever happened to area-based planning?

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