Can the DUP advance the cause of mixed schooling like this?

So the DUP ” will not rest” until a single schools system is created, says Mervyn Storey

 He suggested four issues would require agreement:

  • Governance — a single body representing all to encourage collaboration in planning;
  • Policy — achieving genuine consensus rather than “whim or ideology”;
  • Structures — meeting needs in a cost-effective way, and
  • Choice — protecting the concept of parental choice “within an agreed framework”.

The big question is – Is the DUP in any position to achieve it? Their old weapons of truculence and aggression with a hint of menace and bluster will get them nowhere. This is a cross community project or it is nothing. Politicians have to learn the language of consensus in order to achieve it. The DUP have to examine their own position in public as well, rather than set themselves up as ” right” with others as “wrong”.

At one level a ” single system ” or framework is easy. In a sense we’ve got one now. What Mervyn’s really referring to is separate Catholic schools, as of course we know. Treating this as a target to aim at first is not the way to win agreement. The DUP  should start by saying” I’ve no objection to Catholic nationalists teaching my kids.” Next they should start identifying the benefits for all children, rather than battering their heads against the institutional problems first. Perhaps we should take a look at the Protestant transferors in the state system?  All that would be a better approach, particularly for a school prize day in front of children.

I’m assuming of course that Mervyn is a genuine supporter of parental choice for mixed schooling. I’d be easy to convince. There are many others from the Cardinal down (or up) who would need a good deal more reassurance – and most of them seem to comment here. This is a debate that needs careful handling.

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  • Séamus Rua

    http://tiny.cc/djbyn

    It seems the DUP see no place for Irish medium education in the future …

    … whoops, protected by the GFA.

    Again, highly unlikely to get consent of the nationalist parties.

    Are the DUP trying to get back to 1969 or 1869?

  • “At one level a ” single system ” or framework is easy. In a sense we’ve got one now.”

    Brian, you may have missed Drumlin Rock’s post yesterday:

    “I think the original proposals were to bring all sectors fully under the new ESA, which would be in line with SF/socialist centralising policy, but at the first peep from the catholic church most of the CCMS role was taken out, for obvious electoral reason by the minister, but she bulldozed on with the rest virtually unaltered even though it didnt work very well any more with the majority of schools missing!”

    Why are you ignoring Ruane’s role in this affair? How about practising a little bit of ‘careful handling’? 😉

  • “The DUP should start by saying” I’ve no objection to Catholic nationalists teaching my kids.””

    A pretty ridiculous comment. Twenty years ago now I think a Catholic nationalist taught me French, another one taught me Chemistry, an English atheist taught Biology and another similar person taught English.

    The fact is that frequently I had no idea (nor really cared) what religion or politics the teachers were and nor did my parents.

    In the state school system anyway there was no way that French (or anything else) was taught in a Catholic nationalist or Protestant unionist fashion fashion except RE (one lesson a week till third year then none) and theoretically history though actually it avoided political controversy very carefully. Furthermore my state school never played the national anthem, did not fly the union flag, had no pictures of the Queen etc. etc.

    The idea that the DUP need somehow to accept that Catholic nationalists will be teaching their children is manifest nonsense. They have never suggested otherwise and in large areas of the state sector people who are presumably “Catholic nationalists” do indeed teach Protestant children.

    Currently I believe a Presbyterian is head teacher of Dominican Convent in Portstewart so Walker’s analysis does not even hold water in reverse.
    The idea that education has a specific political content is largely a red herring.

    The Catholic sector’s leaders may be publicly complaining about the DUP proposals and that may be true of others within the sector but another group who may well be anxious (though not willing to state it publicly) are likely to be the Integrated sector which have made great play of their integratedness and have largely self defined “integrated” leaving out schools such as Dominican and Limavady Grammar (as merely one example from “each side”) which are in actual fact integrated.

  • pinni

    Mr Walker, your sarcasm and innuendoes of ‘violence’ expose your enduring loathing of the DUP.

    Come on, it’s 2010, but your mind seems to be stuck somewhere in the mid-80’s! Shake out of it and support this attempt to help end sectarianism and segregation in NI.

  • GoldenFleece

    Is this the same Mervyn Storey who wants Creationism to be taught in Science classes >:-( !?!

  • drumlins rock

    and… dont leave us hanging on Pete, whats the 4th issue?

    Anyways as Nevin said the problem rests mainly with the CCMS being largely excluded from the new ESA but with jsut about everything else being brought under its control, in what is seen by many as nothing less than a purely sectarian move by the minister. As for the Transferors that Pete mentioned (meaning the 3 main Protestant Churches who btw have been almost as often the brunt of DUP/Free P abuse as Republicans over the years) the little influence they have is virtually wiped out in the current proposals, but without any other community accountability being put in thier place. ie. all the power is being centralised in the department.
    The DUP have it right to an extent on this one, but it is rediculous that they have let the whole thing get this far with basically a repeat of the councils fiasco, and the education boards half stripped and in limbo, while the ESA is left floating out their with the super councils.

  • DR, it’s Brian, not Pete!

  • drumlins rock

    same difference lol, i should have scrolled up before posting!

  • Brian Walker

    C’mon pinni, I don’t loathe. But I warn against the time honoured tone the DUP can fall into when dealing with opposition. As reported here Mervyn seemed on the brink. “Whim or ideology” is not a helpful way to describe the Catholic stance if you want change. Can you really not see the simple point I’m making?

    Drumlin’s, sorry..fourth now added. I’m a terrible proof reader..

    nevin, I take the point about ESA. Persoanlly I regret the CCMS as was didn’t come in but who am I?

    The broader one is that while the Catholic system is not incorporated into the proposed new adminstrative structure it is far from wholly separate from state governance either – funding, curriculum, examinations etc., etc. Indeed at that level they seem enthusiastic partners.

    It just won’t work to argue that the Catholics should be forced to come in just because the Prods did in the 1930s.
    Compulsion doesn’t apply. Sanctions don’t exist.

    Prods were basically happy because to put it crudely the old State was Prod. It’s fair enough now to ask if Catholic separation is still warranted now that the State is pluralist.
    But you are still left with the point that all civilised states guarantee confessional independence which financial arguments by themelves do not displace, And that’s the greater reality beyond local politics.,.

    New and better arguments are needed. I think everybody here knows that really but likes to protest….

  • “now that the State is pluralist.”

    Brian, it seems Ruane doesn’t accept that idea. As DR points out ESA was pluralist until Ruane exempted CCMS.

    The Catholic hierarchy back in the day opted for a society within a society, a confessional state within a state and the Protestant denominations were more than content with this arrangement. As I also pointed out yesterday a senior CoI cleric wanted a Protestant equivalent of CCMS.

    Parental choice can be very limited when the respective establishments in NI lock horns!!

  • dick craig

    Is this the same Limavady Grammar that does not allow Gaelic Games coaching in the school, even though Parents and pupils have requested it?

  • Anon

    Not one word of the opposition to the DUP’s idea that I have heard from Walker or anyone else for that matter extends beyond: “it’s the DUP, THE DUP. THE DUP!!!!!” ranting.

    Robinson was right: if we argued for separate schooling for kids on the basis their skin colour we would be the pariah of the world, but we seem happy to FUND a system which separates them on the basis of their parents beliefs.

    Now Brian, instead of your prejudicial and cliche-ridden criticisms of the DUP which hark back to 20 years ago at least, what about addressing that issue?

  • Neil

    Robinson was right: if we argued for separate schooling for kids on the basis their skin colour we would be the pariah of the world, but we seem happy to FUND a system which separates them on the basis of their parents beliefs.

    Which is fairly common around the world. I’m no expert in the ECHR laws but I’ve seen a couple of bits posted on this site that suggests the parent’s right to have their child educated in a school which follows the ethos of their religion. As usual Unionism retreats to the position of attempting to deny Catholics the treatment their gauranteed in law. Shame that shit won’t fly any more.

    On the funding issue, no one has suggested why it would be more financially viable to educate Catholic kids in Protestant schools (for sure Robbo wasn’t suggesting secular ones), have you any ideas?

    Bearing in mind that the Catholic church owns the land that the schools are on, and given they provide good value for money can you provide a scintilla of proof that we’ll be financially better off if we kick the CCMS to the kerb and talk ourselves out of hundreds of millions of pounds worth of rent free property? Thought not.

    Robinson’s tilting at windmills. If he’d actually any intention of following through, he wouldn’t have approached the issue in the kak handed fashion he has. That’s because due to the law enshrining our right to faith schools, the fact that the CCMS saves the tax payer money, the fact that the parents of CCMS pupils pay taxes and also have a right to a say in the decision he has zero chance of succeeding without the help of his colleagues on the other side of the fence.

    The only people who are wetting themselves with glee at Robbos attack are secularists, because they don’t understand Robbos intentions; and Unionists because they strongly desire the opportunity to educate all them uppity fenian kids in good citizenship skills and wipe away any semblance of Republicanism.

    That’s before you even start to think of the potential for violence between Catholic and Protestant kids in school, as JEB pointed out on another thread. I can relate to that point having had one of the most vicious beatings of my life in an ‘integrated’ 90% Protestant school, for sectarian reasons. And contrary to Turgon’s point my ‘integrated’ school did have a Union Jack, renditions of God Save the Queen in assembly and the rest.

    If you think I’d dream of putting my kids through that you’re mad as a March hare.

    All of the above being academic, as Robbo hasn’t the ability to force his suggestions through (thanks to the ECHR), and thanks to the fact that he’d fuck all intention of doing that in the first place, or he’d have tried to build consensus with SF/SDLP instead of simply appealing to his hard line voters who’ve been abandoning him in droves which was what he hoped for in the first place.

    The real victims are the secularists who are using this as another excuse to attack the church (any church will do), because their either thick or optomistic enough to think that Robbo’s talking about secular education.

    Anyhow, if you can think of a single way that you can save money by removing the CCMS I’d love to hear it. But those hundreds of millions worth of free property leaves a bit of a hole to fill.

  • “to educate Catholic kids in Protestant schools”

    Non-denominational schools, Neil. Ruane played the sectarian card when she failed to keep with a non-denominational ESA.

  • Anon

    Neil

    That is correct. Parents do have the right to segregate their kids, what they don’t have is the right to expect the state to fund it. If people want to set up a Muslim school, a Jewish school, a Jedi Knight school or any other belief-based school, they are at perfect liberty to do so. What they cannot expect is that taxpayers money be used to pay for it.

  • Anon

    “any semblance of Republicanism.”

    Is that what passes for “Catholic ethos” these days? Interesting….

  • Anon

    “But those hundreds of millions worth of free property leaves a bit of a hole to fill.”

    This would be the property that taxpayers money was used to build, non?

  • `PROTESTANTS AWAKE the door is through open for a Bolshevist or an Atheist or a Roman Catholic to become a teacher in a Protestant school’.

    The United Education Committee of the Protestant Churches 1925.

  • The “Transferors” (i.e. the 3 main Protestant Churches) do not control only the schools which they transferred to the State. They control all State schools including schools which were built long after the Education Act of 1931.

  • It was the Protestant Churches who shot down an attempt to establish integrated education in the 1830s. At the time the Catholic bishops accepted the plan even though education in an Ireland about 80% Catholic was to be controlled by a Board of Education consisting of 2 Catholics and 5 Protestants.

  • Not all the money spent building Catholic schools was from public funds. In 1931 when the Protestant Churches handed their schools over to themselves, they were given 100% State funding. Catholic schools did not receive 100% State funding until 1992. In 1931 State funding for Catholic schools was increased from 33% to 50%.

  • Yes.

  • Neill

    Compensating a child for failure to protect him from sectarian bullying could be rather expensive. Likewise fighting claims of bias in appointment or promotion. Likewise compensating teachers for failure to protect them from sectarian bullying by students or colleagues.

    Integrated education in a land saturated with sectarian tensions will not save money.

  • White Horse

    “The DUP should start by saying” I’ve no objection to Catholic nationalists teaching my kids.” ”

    Brian, trying to socialise an antisocial proposal put by a largely antisocial party (when it comes to all their opponents) is a bit meaningless. It just shows me that you don’t really understand where they’re coming from.

    “from the Cardinal down (or up)”

    Do I detect the real agenda?

  • Driftwood

    I’d quite like my kids educated in a faith school of my choice. As a believer in Paul the psychic Octopus, Neil assures me, under European Law, that a school must be built to accomodate my beliefs.

    Unlike any version of the fantasy creed of Christianity, including the Paedo/Catholic one, at least they will not come to any harm.

    Where do I apply for funding?

  • barnshee

    The answer is blinding simple

    1 Each school will cost the annual price of their religious ethos
    Salaries ,%of overheads cost of space provided etc

    2 The fund applied to each school will be rREDUCED by the sum calculated in 1 above.

    Religious ethos costs will then be made up by the people who choose to support each school

  • alan56

    Can a religious ethos not be taught in RE classes, the home or in church? Seperating children at 4 and keeping them apart for at least the next 12 years is underpinning religious difference. Is that really what we want here?

  • Driftwood

    is underpinning religious difference. Is that really what we want here?

    No

    Why have bullshit ‘taught’ at all? We teach Maths and Science and show children the power of deductive reasoning and evidence. Then we tell them fairy stories about nice baby jesus and his lovely wee virgin ma. And repeat ad infinitum until they think the laws of Physics were overturned 2000 odd years ago and they’ll see their cat again in heaven.
    Add, for good measure, that the horrible people who live ‘on the other side of town’ are the product of satan and their cat is going to hell (as will they of course), and on and on it goes.
    If parents want to push this crap then there is nothing the state could (or should) do about it. But they should not be using tax money to promote it. Those who argue Prods and Catholics also pay taxes would need to further their agenda to having separate healthcare systems, separate roads, separate…….well, I suppose we’re halfway there.

  • That doesn’t surprise me, John. I don’t see any real enthusiasm for pluralism amongst the various religious establishments.

  • White Horse

    Some of us believe that empathy for others should be taught in homes, schools and churches and that the social conscience should be developed even, to be politically incorrect for a moment, at the expense of the work ethic that sustains hollow ideologies of the nation state where GDP and GNP are honoured and Christ is pushed into the corners.

    In a society where increasingly insecure people increasingly have no time for anything, maybe its time we made time for that which makes a challenge to the orthodoxy that says that our society is only underpinned by self interest or that we would know what to do without feeling or knowing in our hearts what is the good thing to do.

    Is it a good thing to take Christ out of schools when there still exists those parties that honour shallow ideological positions which, even though they have been emasculated by the GFA, still compete for the hearts of men?

  • Reader

    White Horse: Some of us believe that empathy for others should be taught in homes, schools and churches and that the social conscience should be developed
    Fair enough. I suppose you think that religion is the best way to do this. Which religion is best for this sort of thing? And within the religion, which denomination (sect, branch, whatever)? Or should the state fund separate schools for all-comers?
    How about Philosophy or Sociology as an alternative?

  • John, just had a look at the NEELB schedule for primary schools; transferors are in the minority on a board of governors:

    “two members shall be elected by parents of pupils attending the school or schools from amongst the parents of such pupils;

    two members shall be chosen by the Board;

    four members shall be nominated by the transferors and superseded managers of the school or schools;

    one member shall be elected by assistant teachers at the school or schools from amongst such assistant teachers.”

  • Driftwood

    Reader
    WH talks of ’empathy’ and adds christianity as the sole dispenser of such feeling. Actually de facto he is arguing for Marxism, though he might not realise it.

    Sociology and Philosophy do touch on ‘belief systems’ in their curriculum, with the natural caveat, of course, that there is not a shred of evidence for any creation myth.

    In my old school we were taught Greek, Nordic and Roman mythology-along with Latin- and there is no reason why Christianity should not be added to this list. It deserves its place in the history of mythology..
    It might even be better than ‘media studies’.

  • Driftwood

    Why should any Catholic allow his children to sit in the same classroom as your children or play in the same playground as your children? Your support for integrated education should be enough to warn all Catholics away from it.

    P.S. There are plenty of Paedos among Protestant teachers and Protestant schools have shown themselves very good a pampering such preverts.

  • Only total segregation can protect Catholic children and teachers from anti-Catholic aggression.

  • I want separate hospitals for Catholics. Or, at least, segregated wards in hospitals. Catholic nurses have been insulted by Protestant patients and Protestant nurses.

  • I want separate hospitals for Catholics. Or, at least, segregated wards in hospitals. Catholic nurses have been insulted by Protestant patients and Protestant nurses.

  • Nevin

    Among the Board of Voting Governors of all State schools. the representatives of the Protestant Churches are NOT in a minority. The Protestant Churches have a statutory right to appoint 50% of the voting governors. The representative of the Assistant Teachers does not have a right to vote.

  • Anon

    “what they don’t have is the right to expect the state to fund it. ”

    Why not? Since 1931, the State has been providing 100% funding for Protestant schools and disguising this by calling the Protestant schools “State” schools.

    Catholics have as much right to State funding for the education of their children as Protestants have had for theirs for the past 79 years.

    “If people want to set up a Muslim school, a Jewish school, , they are perfectly at liberty to do so. What they cannot expect is that taxpayers money be used to pay for it.”

    Why not? Muslims and Jews do receive State funding for their schools. Also the Church of England.

    I resent your insinuation that wealthy Catholics, who can afford private education, have a right to keep their children safe from sectarian agression while poor Catholics have no such right.

    Why are you advocating financial pressure in order to coerce Catholics into accepting integrated education? If integrated education is so wonderful, why do you feel a desire to coerce Catholics into taking part? What have you in store for us? “Come into my parlour” said the spider to the fly.

  • breaking news in Roman Catholic parishes up and down the country this week it seems…

  • And obviously as the whole thing is setup to rob Roman Cathoic youth of their innocence such an arrangement could not be changed in any advent of a truly integrated education…

    The dates (er, sorry years ffs) being quoted in these threads really do tell their own story.

  • Given his initial support when Robinson made his comments, this spineless backtracking from Walker just tells us someone’s had a private word with him lest he get ahead of himself.

    Or perhaps I’m wrong Walker hmm?

  • ECHR laws but I’ve seen a couple of bits posted on this site that suggests the parent’s right to have their child educated in a school which follows the ethos of their religion. As usual Unionism retreats to the position of attempting to deny Catholics the treatment their gauranteed in law. Shame that shit won’t fly any more.

    Republican in claiming non-existent rights shock.

    There is no reason why religious class cannot be held in an integrated school. Unless you’re a belligerently powerful organisation intent on continuing it’s little social experiment without the rest of society asking serious questions (but obviously, asking it for funding at the same arms length)…

  • Why not? Since 1931, the State has been providing 100% funding for Protestant schools and disguising this by calling the Protestant schools “State” schools.

    Er, so the reason for not backing integrated education is that themmuns didn’t want it 80 years ago? riiiiiight….

    P.S. There are plenty of Paedos among Protestant teachers and Protestant schools have shown themselves very good a pampering such preverts.

    Such is the perspective of the segrationalists. Does anyone else feel the need to sit a bit further from the keyboard then normal lest they get a splash of the foam emanating from McMahon’s mouth?

  • When did you stop believing in God?

  • how much do those actual real life Protestant schools get John? You know, the Free P ones? Hmm?

    The imbalance in the education sector is laughable. Integrated education should rightly step into this vacuum of sense.

  • Of course Catholic nationalists are in all likelihood teaching DUP kids anyway seeing as state schools don’t need to hire based on religion.

  • lol!

  • presumably the peace wall beneath Belfast City Cemetery needs extending too – remember oppression doesn’t just stop when you die…

  • John, here’s a direct quote from the NEELB document:

    “In respect of primary schools two members shall be elected by parents of pupils attending the school or schools from amongst the parents of such pupils;

    two members shall be chosen by the Board;

    four members shall be nominated by the transferors and superseded managers of the school or schools;

    one member shall be elected by assistant teachers at the school or schools from amongst such assistant teachers.”

    The teachers rep has a vote unless there is an interest. Also the transferors are not a unified body; they come from different denominations. The principal and co-opted members don’t have a vote as far as I can see. The chair has a deciding vote.

  • Looks like you’ll soon have a Muslim only school in Belfast with Arabic as the main language.

  • St etienne

    State schools do hire based on religion.

    A few months ago a certian State school was in the news – the State primary school in Ballykelly. 56% of its pupils were Catholics and yet only one third of its teachers were Catholics.

  • Legislation to remove State funding from Catholic schools will need cross-community agreement. Such agreement will not be forthcoming. This being so, the only way to increase integration in education is to make the State schools attractive to more Catholics. This can best be done by removing the statutory right of the Protestant Churches to control State schools and by giving 100% State funding to Protestant denominational schools. The hiving off from the State schools of hard-line Protestant puils, teachers and governors would leave those schools less hostile to Catholics. We then would have secular State schools, Protestant denominational schools and Catholic denominational schools – all 100% funded by the State. This is exactly the system in Holland – the homeland of William of Orange. It has been the system in Holland since 1918.

    I have nothing against integrated education provided that no Catholic is coerced into sending his child to a non-Catholic school or coerced into keeping his child in a non-Catholic school.

  • barnshee

    Waht about Legislation to remove State funding for religious education from all schools ?

  • Neill Morton

    Where are the studies that clearly show that faith education creates bigotry and hatred where none before existed? Where are the studies which show that education for mutual understanding and integrated schooling – both of which have attracted £millions – actually fundamentally changed societal attitudes (I’m not referring to individual perceptions; I mean, tolerance cascading from such initiatives)?
    I’m just asking.

  • White Horse

    Reader

    It might not be a good time to say it but Roman Catholicism is the only truly ethical religion in its universal nature and its loyalty to Christ’s example inherent in the social conscience. As time marches on and social democracy is handed the Christian banner Churches will become redundant but only insofar as victory has been established for empathy other othert socipathic agendas such as ideological nationhood.

    I like philosophy and it should be on the curriculum but it tends to be an agenda of the head and not the heart.

  • White Horse

    Driftwood

    “WH talks of ‘empathy’ and adds christianity as the sole dispenser of such feeling. Actually de facto he is arguing for Marxism, though he might not realise it.”

    Empathy is the sole purpose of Christianity but love precedes every agenda.

    Marxism is of the head, not the heart. If you derive your empathy for others solely from books, you’re probably trying to indulge your ego and not your heart, and the reality may be that you never really had any empathy. Given its bloody history, Marxism may in fact be Christianity for socipaths.

  • John, I heard about another form of discrimination allegedly favouring Catholic teachers trained in St Marys over Catholic teachers trained elsewhere.

  • abucs

    The question from a Catholic perspective to Protestants and non Christians is –

    is there something about Catholic schools that you don’t like?

    If you can be accomodated that’s great. If not then it’s good to understand why not.