Educational underachievement and disadvantaged PUL males

One subject which didn’t get raised on Slugger last week was the publication of the report into educational underachievement and disadvantaged protestant males by Dawn Purvis and her independent working group.

Protestant educational underachievement has been a much talked about situation over the years: generational unemployment, last of aspiration, lack of positive role models on top of the Troubles legacy, poverty, deprivation and family breakdown. Statistics bounce around the media about the low number of boys on the Shankill Road passing their 11 plus or gaining university places.

The set of reports and associated consultation reports and research has pulled together the figures along with consultation responses from individuals, education boards, teachers, academics and voluntary organisations. First-hand experiences from a focus group of Protestant teenagers was also considered.

While it can be an emotive subject, the reports made fascinating reading … and from my perspective as a parent and as a parent governor, will spark of some conversations.

In her “Call to Action” Dawn Purvis notes that

Given the sensitivity of inter-communal competition within Northern Ireland, it was not the intention of this initiative to enter into, or promote, any sort of zero-sum competition for scarce resources. Rather it was to shine a light on a serious and growing problem. Additionally we argue that educational needs must be addressed via cooperation, mutual concern and the specific targeting of barriers and impediments, wherever they are found, to [promote] effective and inclusive education.

And in her blog post introducing the report, I note that Dawn reaches out beyond PUL communities:

While the statistics point to protestant males being the worst off, they are not the only group our education system fails, our findings are being presented in such a way that they can be extrapolated for other groups facing the same problems.

Did you know (according to the initial consultation document) that:

  • 24% of children in NI live below the poverty line with 10% living in severe poverty?
  • children in NI are more than twice as likely to be living in persistent poverty as in the rest of the UK?
  • 8% of boys aged <15 have a disability, compared with 4% of girls?
  • 24% of working age adults in NI (in 2006) possessed no qualifications (in England the figure was 14%)?
  • socially disadvantaged Catholics perform better than their Protestant counterparts [in non-grammar schools], whereas grammar schools pupils have more similar educational profiles?
  • at GCSE English and Maths, 15% of Controlled schools are under-performing, as against 4% of Catholic Maintained school?

Consultation respondents coalesced around the need to tackle:

  • early years education, boosting support, investment and early intervention;
  • encouraging positive parental involvement in children’s education
  • promoting vocational education as a positive alternative to academic education;
  • priming teachers and school leaders with training about methods and approaches to address this type of underachievement.

The working group’s principal findings can be summarised as:

  • Local, UK and international research shows that differentials in educational performance lie (to a degree of 80% or more) outside schools and the classroom.
  • Funding priorities are back to front, with per-individual spending – £5,126 higher education, £4,745 further education, £5,287 secondary education, £3,969 primary education – meaning that opportunities to address problems in early years or primary school are missed.
  • Community and cultural factors affect how Protestant families perceive education and participation in schools. The report suggests that:

Historically, the Protestant community has been more at ease with ‘representative’ democracy than ‘bottom up’ or community development approaches. For that reason, there is greater comfort in universal provision (such as Sure Start, Extended Schools, libraries, statutory youth clubs, Citizes Advice, etc) rather than locally or community driven efforts. Tender calls or funding initiatives therefore need to consider broader development approaches which might include, for example, churches or sports associations in Protestant areas.

  • Insufficient flexibility in the curriculum and funding of schools weakens the ability of educators to respond to respond creatively to the needs of students who are not achieving, and to adapt to different learning styles.
  • Even though external factors play the primary role in the academic success of a child, exceptional teaching and leadership in a school can make a tremendous difference.
  • The lack of coordination and cooperation among government departments and agencies wastes resources and potential. [Sadly, couldn’t that be a line in nearly any NI report?]
  • Bhe lack of social balance in many schools leads to an unequal distribution and an unfair burden on non-selective schools.

If standards are to rise for all, we need schools which are socially mixed, which have a leavening effect in which peer group pressure can be used to open minds, change outlooks and raise aspirations … Educationally, with socially balanced intakes everyone does better, even those pupils who are already achieving at higher levels. Economically , as a society we cannot afford such a long tail of underachievement.

  • Academic selection does not cause social division, but it does accentuate it. Working group members did hold a variety of individual views on academic selection, but did agree that with 42% of pupils transferring to grammar schools, many secondary schools have to cope with high concentrations of special educational needs and social disadvantage.

Interestingly, the working group lacked complete confidence in the default disadvantage proxy, Free School Meals Entitlement, suggesting that this should be reviewed.

As I said above, the set of reports are well worth a read and a ponder.

, , ,

  • I was given a copy of the report during the week and it is compulsive reading. The tragedy is perhaps that all unionist politicians seem addicted to elitist forms of education and that East Belfast (where Ms Purvis is a MLA and hopefully will still be one) contains Norn Irons only (?) fee paying school, Campbell College.
    Ian Hall “Great Schools for All Children” writes to Dawn Purvis “that traditionally Catholic families knew and accepted that their children had to have higher qualifications to enter a historically Protestant biased workforce and hence placed greater value on education”.
    He also has a side swipe at trade union protected jobs which gave advantage to sons of fathers in a trade.

    Did they place higher value on it?
    I can only speak from my own experience. When I passed the 11plus in 1963, there were 55 (yes you read that right) and in Primary 7 each day the teacher had the rest of the kids read (for 25 minutes) while he tutored the 11 in the class who were doing the 11 plus.
    Just three of us passed passed and went to the same Catholic grammar school.
    One dropped out of Grammar School within a few months and became a petty criminal. Two got degrees.
    As it happened some of the other eight did well at their “Secondary School” and got degrees.
    The rest were condemned to Primary 8 (the “Primary” School went to Primary 10) because it would take another year before a Secondary School was built and opened.

    The 11 Plus (as well as the National Health Service) is probably regarded as the starting point for a Catholic achievement (John Hume, Austin Currie etc).
    Equality legislation was the continuation.
    There are two ironies here.
    That republican/ nationalist politicians who in many cases were the beneficiaries of all this…..want to end it in some form or other. (as a fellow beneficiary I tend to support that).
    And that unionist/loyalist politicians also in many cases beneficiaries seek to maintain a system that has not helped their own supporters.
    It is this kinda thing that makes me have second thoughts about Ms Purvis. Fair play to her.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    “One subject which didn’t get raised on Slugger ”

    Not as a seperate thread, but it was raised a number of times (as food for thought) as Ms Ruane was getting her usual kicking.

  • Driftwood

    What is the rate of ‘underachievement’ for ‘disadvantaged’ atheist/scientific/rationalist males?
    Coming from such a background- Meadowlands estate Downpatrick- I think the pigeonholeing in these reports is overwhelming.
    In fact, as neither a member of the ‘protestant’ or ‘catholic’ community am I entitled to a grant for a support group for my background?

  • Driftwood

    Is there not an irony in the fact that it was one of us Brits (Rab Butler) who brought you freedom?

  • Driftwood,
    A surprising number of people think that we should be grateful. “Killing nationalism with kindness never works”. We just want more.

  • Driftwood

    fair enough FJH on the Rab Butler post, the previous one?
    You know about those of us ‘disadvantaged’ non-juju monster worshipping apes who just don’t want to live out our ‘sad ‘ materialistic lives, without the great benefit of nationalism, whatever form it takes.

  • I have been interested in local education for some fifteen years and even back then significant underachievement among Protestant working class boys was known and widely discussed; as indeed was the lack of jobs for newly qualified teachers; as indeed the widespread early retirement of teachers and their continuing use as substitute teachers; as indeed the then upcoming downturn in demographics; as indeed the rise of the failed teachers wannabe social engineers who twice removed became educationalists. The pinnacle of the last 15 years was the creation of ESA and the appointment of a CX designate both still born at great public expense. The pinnacle of non achievement was of course…….well we’re spoiled for choice.

    There is one group that has delivered for the kids that are destined to underachieve and that is the group that day by day delivers on time, every time. The dinner ladies. Would dinner ladies abandon school meals without preparing a contingency? No. Do dinner ladies treat the FSM kids inequitably? No. Could dinner ladies organise the school holidays better? Yes, you bet they could.

    Dinner ladies – what would we do without them? Catriona Ruane – think what we could do without her?

  • articles – I love your comment about dinner ladies. The next Minister of Education should hold a reception in the Long Gallery and invite them all to attend!

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    It is quite amazing that Unionists spend so much time criticising Ruane for trying to change a system that so fails Unionist/Prod-background kids.

    Dawn is the only Unionist politician to have the balls to stand up and tell it like it is and doesnt spend her time simply trying to deflect blame on to Ruane.

    Unionists (as ever) are completely out of step with with every other mainstream party in Ireland and Britain and despite the evidence of their applaing failure to address the issues – its all just down to Catriona.

  • All credit to “RAB” Butler (Driftwood @ 12:48 am) — until one goes back to the source documents. The National Archives have many on line.

    What one discovers there is that the crude outline of the 1944 Act was proposed by Lord Halifax as early as February 1934; and a full proposal (over the name of a certain J. Ramsay Macdonald) went to Cabinet in July 1935. The objection then (and as late as 1944) was from the Treasury. The draft 1943 Educational Reconstruction White Paper (now with Butler’s name) set out aims in thundering rhetoric:

    The Government’s purpose in putting forward the reforms described in this Paper is to secure for children a happier childhood and a better start in life ; to ensure a fuller measure of education and opportunity for young people and to provide means for all of developing the various talents with which they are endowed and so enriching the inheritance of the country whose citizens they are. The new educational opportunities must not, therefore, be of a single pattern. Schools and courses must be available to suit the needs and aptitudes of different types of pupil or student. It is just as important to achieve diversity as it is to ensure equality of educational opportunity. Unity within the educational system will open the way to a more closely knit society which will give us strength to face the tasks ahead. The war has revealed afresh the resources and character of the British people—an enduring possession that will survive all the material losses inevitable in the present struggle. In the youth of the nation we have our greatest national asset. Even on a basis of mere expediency, we cannot, afford not to develop this asset to the greatest advantage. It is the object of the present proposals to strengthen and inspire the younger generation. For it is as true to-day, as when it was first said, that “the bulwarks of a city are its men”.

    I am still impressed that personal development was emphasised above and beyond any social good, and the social good above any economic argument. Great days, indeed.

    Meanwhile, should we not dredge even further back, and commend the foresight of Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry? OK … OK! In other respects more than a bit of a political loonie; but even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. But his 1923 Education Act was the way to go.

    Now either side of the Great Divide can object: the Catholic/Nationalist nay-sayers can get in first (as they did in 1923). Yet the self-inflicted wound, which persists to the present day (as this thread celebrates) was the other side of the fence. Homage, too, then to the Reverend Dr William Corkery, school manager of nine schools in the Shankill, his manipulation of the Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge, and their stirring denunciation of the Londonderry Act wherein:

    the door is thrown open for a Bolshevist or an Atheist of a Roman Catholic to become a teacher in a Protestant school.

  • Ahem: typo!

    a Bolshevist or an Atheist or a Roman Catholic.

    In forty years at the chalk-face, many of the best classroom teachers I met could be classified as one of those three.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Sammy,

    “Unionists (as ever) are completely out of step with with every other mainstream party in Ireland and Britain and despite the evidence of their applaing failure to address the issues – its all just down to Catriona.”

    Relative to Catholic schools, State secondary schools do not fare as well for one reason – discipline. Catholic schools still have a certain amount of it. Although, I would imagine that is declining as respect for the church has declined with the child abuse scandals.

    As for being out of step, who cares? Not that long ago Sammy Wilson was “out of step” on the whole GW thing. Pointed out by many on here. After the last few winters more people seem to be in step. Apparently, there is a genetic link to consensus thinking. I guess you may have the genes. But that doesn’t make you right….

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Congal Claen,

    Out of step, can be good, but I suggest to you that the tendency of Unionism to generally follow the (not necessarily Tory) conservative line (that’s with a farily sizeable ‘C’) is a reflection of their moving/unstable constitutional status which seems to always push them down the line towards no change. Their position on education (selection) seems just another exmaple of that.

    It doesnt mean they are ‘wrong’, but rather, if they are ‘right’ it is probably more by chance than as a result of a rational debate.

    Stopped clock being right twice a day and all that.

  • JR

    “Not that long ago Sammy Wilson was “out of step” on the whole GW thing. Pointed out by many on here. After the last few winters more people seem to be in step.”

    Not a great example given that 2010 was the joint warmest ever recorded both in terms of surface and ocean temperatures. Dispite a cold winter in Northwestern europe. Concensus on global warming has never been stronger. Did you know that europe covers about 2% of the earths surface?

  • Hats off to Dinner Ladies. (although not where food is being served)
    They keep the show running at Queens.
    To the girls “You cant live on an apple, you will go anorexic”
    and to the boys “youve been wearing them clothes since showers in your flat?”

    Also better at keeping order in school dining rooms than their better paid colleagues in the classrooms.

  • Congal Claen @ 11:49 am:

    Ah, yes! “Discipline”!

    Please expatiate.

    What is it? How should it be (ahem!) applied?

    The disaffection from schooling (there’s that eternal divide between the institution and the product) among working-class white males is endemic across the entire UK. Curiously, dig a bit deeper and one finds that the school failures are frequently deeply involved in, entirely engaged in self-development: it’s just that the self-development doesn’t fit the socially-approved norms. The kid who cannot cope with the classroom may well be able to strip and rebuild a scooter engine, or have some other ability which cannot be accommodated in the present dispensation.

    All kinds of reasoning is advanced for this: the decline of respect for manual skills; the changing nature of “work”, the gender-neutral climate … all of which and more contribute to the “lack of male mentoring/rôle-models” thing. I’d add that the school experience of deprived areas has been so degraded over so many decades that subsequent generations are replaying the antipathies of parents, and even grandparents.

    I’d also suggest that the “top-down” diktat of the National Curriculum is also a hindrance. Ask the disaffected student what he (boys being the subject of this thread) has “learned” this week, and the answer would be an expletive. That is because “learning” is seen to take place only inside the eddikashunal broiler-house. Dig further, and the same student may concede, yes, he managed Level Four on his latest computer game, or he caught his biggest ever coarse fish , or … Now gently suggest there must have been some degree of acquired new skill, new knowledge in that. Suddenly the notion of “learning” changes. We can now negotiate the planning of skill-acquisition and application: some of the skills may even be socially-beneficial.

    This thread is based on the premise that RC faith-schools in NI are somehow different. Well, OK.

    I’d suggest that represents a truth about all schools. It was best formulated (for me) by a non-educational writer. Many years ago Simon Jenkins wrote an article (I think for the London Evening Standard) which suggested that any school’s greatest asset was a culture and climate of application and studiousness quietly passed down from one student cohort to the next (and I expect he phrased it more cogently than that). In my book, that’s another way of viewing “discipline” (self-discipline being the best). Which is another reason why the selective and public schools are successful.

    So, the question is: how do we break the other tradition, of under-performance and perceived “failure”? The Blairite academies (now very much the New Goveian wave) attempt it by rebranding and some heavy salt-money. Some work: others slide back. Since the late ’70s, there’s been the (for me, over-)emphasis on “qualities of leadership”. Hence the vogue for “super-heads” and “payments by results”. Hence, too, the assumption that commercial competition will somehow work (another Goveian tic).

    So why not redefine the basic assumption? Why not return to the verities of “liberal education”? That involvement, application, creativity, knowledge, of most kinds, are essentially “good”? Who would have foreseen that a West Country boy’s addiction to pulp sci-fi mags would be first step towards Sir Arthur C. Clarke and satellite communication? In a later generation, call this Billy Elliotism, perhaps?

  • On the SF website Sinn Fein`s O Dowd said `working class protestant boys are the demographic most failed by the educational arrangements which Unionist representatives have fought vehemently to retain.` This statement is completely untrue. This demographic also fails on the UK mainland where white males from working class backgrounds underachieve educationally despite the comprehensive system used in england and the largely universal system used in Scotland.

    The facts and statistics show these kids are failing from before entry to primary school let alone high school so blaming it on the `11 plus` is just disingenuous of Sinn Fein.

    The probable real cause is parenting & social / environmental issues (ie high unemployment, poverty, crime, drug and alcohol abuse and lack of ambition / esteem /confidence.)

    Just to add to that – white working class boys in ngland are similarly underachieving which is surely related therefore debunking the Sinn Fein `grammar school` argument.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    “working class protestant boys are the demographic most failed by the educational arrangements which Unionist representatives have fought vehemently to retain.` This statement is completely untrue. ”

    Is O’Dowd not just speaking about Northern Ireland – and if so presuambly you agree that the statement is completely true ?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    “Not a great example given that 2010 was the joint warmest ever recorded both in terms of surface and ocean temperatures.”

    That rather depends on how you measure them. Do you know? Trying to give a global temp is also fraught with danger and more importantly abuse. Do you know how many proxies were used to force the result you quoted? You should also be aware that “recorded” history is very short for making big climatic arguments. But, just look around you. All over NI at the minute you’ll see frost damaged Cordylines. All along the Lagan mature trees have lost their bark. I’ve never noticed that before…

    Hi Malcolm,

    I actually agree with practically everything you said. I’d go further tho and have an 11+ type test for admission to colleges with a more vocational bent. That would then mean that some of the more academic kids could also have the benefit of failing. I’d stand by my argument tho that the difference in attainment between catholic and state schools in an academic institution is mainly based on the level of behaviour. I’ve taught in a state secondary and can tell you it is a none too pleasant experience.

  • andnowwhat

    There’s an old saying, “there’ll never be peace until the grass grows in the shipyard”. I always read that as, when the safety net of guaranteed employment is removed and we are all on the same footing, then we can move forward and have a proper society.

    There are excellent examples within state sector education in East Belfast and that IMHO is where the disgrace lies. That these schools, with the same setting, the same “challenges” are achieving well points to the failing schools. Yes, the parents are clearly not living up to their responsibilities but surely the other schools are doing something seriously wrong and their excuses to not stack up.

    If you have a child for 7 hours per day, 5 days per week for 5 years how can one claim not to be able to achieve giving these children a good education?

    I am sure there are many posters on here from working class areas that achieved a decent level of education despite all the distractions of the conflict/troubles in full flow. In my experience (I lived beside St. Louise’s which is an excellent example of this), schools were an oasis in the worst of times. Why are they not so today?

  • Chris Donnelly

    I have many more thoughts on this report and topic which I’ll return to later, but here’s a couple of important points following Alan’s introduction:

    * It remains the case that more catholic pupils fail to attain 5 GCSEs than their protestant counterparts.

    * The Working Group’s difficulties with FSM as a barometer of deprivation is a product of muddled thinking and is based on dubious anecdotal evidence.

    Apart from these points I would welcome the report for highlighting low attainment and educational underachievement.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Andnowwhat,

    Corporal punishment was removed without anything put in to replace it. We’re reaping the benefits of that today. When I taught older teachers used to look down on newer teachers who couldn’t control classes. However, they had developed their reputations when they had more “tools” for the job. As an example, in one of the schools I taught in, their was a VP who had had a fiercesome reputation. No one messed around in his class. However, he retired. Then a few years later he came back to sub. But, the chain had been broken. There was no folklore passed on from year to year between the kids. So, here he was in a school with the same tools as all the other new teachers and kids who gave him no more respect than any of the newer teachers. And he suffered exactly the same.

  • JR

    Hi Congal,
    I am well aware of the complexities involved in recording a global temperature, (must be my Catholic education). I also know that the more proxies that are used (coral, tree ring data, glacial ice cores, crop harvest times, animal migration times etc) the better.

    By the way I did not make any big climatic arguments, nor did I say that temperature records were long. I just made the point that your analogy was a very poor one given that last year was the joint warmest on record.

    Did you know that Northern Ireland contains 0.0093% of the earths surface so its effect on the global temperature record is small.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    “I just made the point that your analogy was a very poor one given that last year was the joint warmest on record.”

    And the point I was making was that 2010 probably wasn’t the warmest year on record. For example you mentioned ocean surface temp. Do you know how many recording stations there are measuring that? For what it’s worth from my own prod education, I recognise that measurement has associated errors. So, what were the associated errors on last year being the warmest on record?

  • andnowwhat

    Hi Congal

    My wee girl is a total handful. Right from P1 she was tough going for the teachers. In P4 she got an older teacher, one who took no keek. The difference it made was incredible and has changed her ever since (sh’s in P6 now). Here former teachers were weak and she, along with some others, knew it.

  • JR

    Hi again Congal,

    There are thens of thousands of sensors measuring the ocean temperature. The difficulties associated with ocean temperature measurment are more to do with variation between skin temperatue (top 1mm recorded by satellites) of the sea and bulk temperature (top 30m recorded by boyes) of the sea. these can vary by tens of degrees on a given day depending on the weather conditions. We have accurate sea bulk sea temperatures going back to the 1850’s in many parts of the world and indisputable global sea temperature records going back to 1967.

    Wether you or Jim Corr or Sammy Wilson or anyone else distrusts the interpretation of the global temperature record is up to yourself but the fact stands.

    2010 was the joint warmest on record.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    There are very few sensors measuring sea temp, relatively speaking. And there are even less going back to the 1850s. If the globe has heated by as much as suggested since the 1850s I would have expected greater thermal expansion of the oceans. But any rise has been minimal.

    2010 was not the joint warmest year on record. By fiddling with statistics it can be shown to be so. However, use a record like the Greenland ice sheet and the last 100 years have been actually some of the coldest of the last 10,000 years.

  • JR

    Hi Congal,

    So how many sensors should we have? What exact sea level rise would you have expected in the last 150 years via thermal expansion?

    What year in your expert opinion was warmer than 2010?

    One thing can be said for any education system in the world. You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    Well we don’t have anywhere near “tens of thousands” as you seem to believe. I think it’s closer to 1,000. So, maybe you shouldn’t be so certain 2010 was the warmest year on record. The ocean being 70% of the earth’s surface. What boyes we do have, have only been operational for about 50 years. Which is too short a timescale, in my opinion, to be making big decisions about reducing CO2. Anyhow, I think the satellites supersede them. So, I’d stick with them for a bit longer.

    “What year in your expert opinion was warmer than 2010?”

    I’m no expert, however if you were to pick any year out of the last 10,500 years (since the ice age) in about 90% of your choices you’d have picked a warmer year. I’m also fairly sceptical about temp increase over the last 150 years as this coincides with the widespread adoption of thermometers. (You did mention tree rings, etc.) So, why do the alarmists use tree ring data upto a certain point but then, when the thermometers divert away from the tree ring data – to the positive as it happens, rely on thermometers? Why don’t they just use the tree ring record for the whole sequence? And the answer is because they don’t show any warming. Having a control measure is a fairly basic concept that kids are taught in science. Yet, the alarmists have scrapped theirs’ and “corrected” the control measurement. Doesn’t that seem odd to you?

    “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

    At the risk of being an argumentative fekker, but I can’t help myself, that’s dependent on how much effort you’re prepared to put in ;0)

  • JR

    You continue to deviate from the point. I didn’t mention Co2, nor did I say that we have 10s of thousands of boyes. I said there are tens of thousands of devices measuring the oceans temperature.

    Whatever you think about the accuracy or quantity of thermometers or tree ring data. Regardless of your non expert opinion is. My original fact stands.

    2010 was the joint warmest year on record.

  • Reader

    Itwas Sammy: It is quite amazing that Unionists spend so much time criticising Ruane for trying to change a system that so fails Unionist/Prod-background kids.
    Fallacy. Just because she is trying to do something doesn’t mean she is trying to do the right thing. The problem being discussed lies primarily with (a) the home and (b) the primary school. Blaming the secondary school would be somewhat unfair – blaming the grammer schools is monstrous.
    What Ruane might get a bit of credit for is a bit of hopeful movement on the Enriched/Revised curriculum. All very well, except that it appears that any overall improvement is unequal – the sort of children who were already doing well benefit more than those who weren’t. Was that worth the money? The Malone mummies might think so. Not so sure about Dawn’s crowd.

  • tinman

    24% of children in NI live below the poverty line with 10% living in severe poverty

    We argue about flags, and marches, and who did what to whom in the dim and distant past, and yet

    24% of children in NI live below the poverty line with 10% living in severe poverty

    Shame on us all.

  • Zig70

    it’s not about schools. It’s a themnus comparison. It’s Irish mothers who berated their kids that the only way they’d compete for jobs is with a better education. How you going to replicate that? A few years of 30:70 recruitment (joke).

  • Zig70

    pity about all the global warming rubbish. It’s all theory, the records are very recent, could just as easily be an ice age on the way.

  • ForkHandles

    As far as i know every school teaches the same curriculum, isn’t that right?. So can anyone explain the reason that some secondary schools score very low GCSE grades for their pupils? What are these schools doing that they shouldn’t Or what are they not doing that they should? If many people believe that the solution to low grades is to put all kids in the same school, then how would that be different to a standard secondary school? Please ensure that your reason is completely politically correct and in no way puts responsibility on the child or his or her family, because that would obviously be totally incorrect.

    From Kilsally’s post earlier, it would appear that low achievement is common in working class areas throughout the UK. Surprise, surprise more shinner lies … 🙂 So what could be the reason that working class children in NI that get to grammar school actually do well? I am one of those children by the way. Again, please ensure your answer is totally PC or it will be invalid!

  • I wonder how well everyone here did in their science exams. at school. Here is a question to test for any class underachievement:

    Why is the surface of the Earth warmer than the surface of the Moon?

  • tinman

    Why is the surface of the Earth warmer than the surface of the Moon?

    Is it because they don’t have 11th night bonfires on the Moon?

  • Why is the surface of the Earth warmer than the surface of the Moon?

    Cold weather payments?

  • aquifer

    The protestants used to be able to get jobs via family connections without qualifications. That has ended with fair employment. People used to expect to emigrate, and an immigrant needs every advantage to compete with locals, another incentive to study. And why study to work when your parents do not work?

    The Finns get supremely well qualified teachers and get great results from fewer years at school.

    I am not convinced that local teacher training colleges work. I don’t care if English colleges do not work either, that excuse is unacceptable. Maybe better to find the people who are super good at learning, get at least a masters degree, and can then lead children by example.

  • Driftwood

    atmosphere/wind /clouds, the earths surface has a huge degree of variation in temperature, google a physics website.
    When I left school (1981) the main careers were-if you had A levels-RUC, if you didn’t-UDR or Prison Service. Additional money by being full time RUC and part time soldier, and vice versa.
    Seen my Uncle in joint barracks where he changed out of UDR gear into RUC uniform. later he got full time RUC(reserve) and part-time Army.
    Everybody trained at Ballykinler and life was well paid if miserable.
    The unemployment rates then were bad, we lived off the troubles.
    The thing is (leaving aside Bombardier)…we have nothing to replace the ‘Troubles’. It was our main industry. like the British Empire, when it went, we had no role to play.
    Lots of Civil Service non jobs kept the place afloat. and ’employment’ levels equal, even if there was nothing to do. These non jobs multiplied hugely after 1997 and here we all are.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally
    “Is O’Dowd not just speaking about Northern Ireland – and if so presuambly you agree that the statement is completely true ?”

    Yes he is talking about NI and no it isn`t true. To blame grammar schools and the 11 plus is to make apolitical football rather than address the facts which show kids are failing before they even enter primary school – so how the heck are grammars and the 11 plus to blame?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    “I said there are tens of thousands of devices measuring the oceans temperature.”

    and how many of them are used to calculate the global temp? (the original point)

    “My original fact stands.”

    During the Minoan warming period the earth, on average, was 3C higher than today. Believe what you like. But, more and more people believe Sammy.

    Hi Dave,

    “Why is the surface of the Earth warmer than the surface of the Moon?”

    I don’t think you’ve phrased that question correctly. The surface temp of the moon varies massively between that in direct sunlight and that that is in shade. The moon is geologically inactive so no heat is generated from within. It all comes from the sun. It comes in the form of light, which is converted to infrared when it strikes the moon’s surface. As the moon has minimal atmosphere, this is reradiated back into space. So, you get massive variations. Above and below what we have on earth.

    The earth is active, so gets lots of heat from the core. The vast majority of the heat of the earth comes from within. It also has an atmosphere which reflects some of the infrared energy back onto earth. Interestingly (well to me anyhow), it’s still not certain how the heat from within the earth is generated. For instance, Kelvin made his guesstimate of the age of the earth assuming no heat was being generated from within. However, this was way too low. So, it’s possible, but not proven, that at the core there may well be a nuclear reaction taking place.

  • JR

    Hi Congal,
    No the origonal point was your inferance that a cold winter in Northern Ireland busted global warming. I am well aware that in prehistoric times the globe was warmer than today. And that the sahara was an ocean and antarctica a forest.

    It is interesting that you are willing to believe the global temperature record from the Minoan period but not from today.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    I’m afraid that’s not correct. My opening salvo was…

    “As for being out of step, who cares? Not that long ago Sammy Wilson was “out of step” on the whole GW thing. Pointed out by many on here. After the last few winters more people seem to be in step.”

    No mention of NI. In my next reply to you I mentioned how global temp were calculated and the abuse that occurs. I then mentioned NI.

    You may well be aware that the earth has been warmer in the past. Are you aware that CO2 has also been way higher in the past – by an order of 20. And that ave global temp bares no direct relationship to it – the basis of GW theory. For instance from the middle to the end of the Jurassic CO2 more than doubled to over 2,000ppm yet global temps fell by about 6C. That was over a period of about 25 million years. Yet, you believe GW thro CO2 based on about 100 years of manipulated results.

    “It is interesting that you are willing to believe the global temperature record from the Minoan period but not from today.”

    And I’ve explained why – the lack of a control measure. You brought up the sea temps. Look at how many different ways the method of temp measurement has changed – coral, weather ships, static boyes, drifting boyes, satellites. And then these series are “corrected”.

    Explain to me again why the tree ring data is only corrected for the last few decades. Why don’t they use the complete series?

  • JR

    There you go again with the CO2.

    “Explain to me again why the tree ring data is only corrected for the last few decades. Why don’t they use the complete series?”

    to be honest you are talking complete nonsense. Go to the IPCC website and search tree ring data. It will bring up a report and that report will tell you there that.

    “observations based entirely on tree-ring data are susceptible to several sources of contamination or non-stationarity of response. For these reasons, investigators have increasingly found tree-ring data most 131 useful when supplemented by other indicators”

    Trees produce smaller rings when stressed. It can be too hot, too dry, too wet, too cold etc. There is only one report on the ipcc website on tree rings and it mentions all these factors. Tree ring data can not be used to prove or disprove anything to do with global warming.

    To be honest I think we have hijacked this thread long enough. There is no point continuing when your mind is totally closed on the issue.

    The fact remains last year was the joint warmest on record. Why it was remains to be seen but when you continue to dispute a widey available and universally accepted basic scientific fact, for me it undermines your judgement on the whole issue.

  • Neil

    What do all the folks who feel integrated education is the way forward think of these figures? Obviously the CCMS is getting better results, and we know that they kindly provide the grounds that the schools are housed in (a multi-billion portfolio that we’d find difficult to replace), but how does all this square with the idea that the way forward is to close those schools and send the kids to (Protestant) state schools?

    My own view is that obviously when people say they want integrated education what they are patently not suggesting is sending all kids to the more succesful Catholic schools, rather integrated education is simply double-speak for ‘make the Catholic kids go to Protestant schools’. The cynic inside wants to add ‘so they can be educated as citizens and any Republican thought can be snuffed out early’.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    The very fact that I’m arguing with you means it isn’t a universally accepted fact. I agree we’ve hijacked this long enough tho. Time will tell…

    Hi Neil,

    “double-speak for ‘make the Catholic kids go to Protestant schools’”

    If that’s true, how come there is the education together movement in the Republic?

  • Neil

    Apples and oranges. The Republic being somewhat different to here, for instance the majority of schools in the past would have been Catholic schools (87% of the population being Catholic) and any discrimination in the Republic was unlikely to be aimed at Catholics.

    And I’m sure the movement you mention does not consist of the Catholic majority telling the Protestant minority that they should shut their schools and send the kids to existing state schools (state schools in the ROI being more likely to be Catholic in the first place).

    Unlike here where the Protestant in the highest office in the land was telling the minority Catholic poulation that they should shut their schools and send their kids to existing state (underachieving Protestant) schools.

    At any rate I’m certain you know that when people were talking about integrated education they weren’t for one second suggesting sending Protestant kids to Catholic run schools (especially obvious as it was Protestants doing the suggesting).

    People were quite outspoken and vocal at the time – they wanted everyone in state schools and denied that the existing state schools were Protestant in ethos. I just wondered how people felt about that overwhelming desire to destroy the Catholic based education system here, when the results suggest that they are the best available option in NI? Is there any response to that?

    The Catholic schools clearly do a better job than the system you’d replace them with. I wonder why folk prefer the worst option?

    I wonder why the exact same people deride Catriona Ruane’s decision to remove the 11 plus, when it’s patently the worst available option (for PUL kids).

    Is anti-Catholicism the only obvious reason? Seems like it. Seems an opportunity to get one over on the papes is worth more than having Protestant kids achieving average results in school.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Neil,

    A lot about what the education together isn’t. Not much on why it exists.

    So, why do you think it does exist?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Neil,

    BTW, catholic schools outperform State schools for a particular demographic. However, state schools outperform catholic schools overall. So, not sure about you associating “underachieving” with state schools.

  • Neil

    From report:

    • More the 75%of LTE (Lower than
    Expected) schools are in the (Controlled
    sector – mainly clustered in Belfast;
    • Within the LTE Protestant Controlled
    schools, 50%+ of pupils were eligible
    for Free School Meals and 1 in 5 were
    identified as having special educational
    • A socially Disadvantaged pupil in a
    Catholic (Maintained) school will have a
    1 in 5 chance of going to University,
    compared to a similar pupil in a
    Protestant (Controlled) school, who has
    a 1 in 10 chance; (NB2)
    • At Key Stage 2 in English and Maths,
    11% of Controlled schools compared
    to 3% Maintained were LTE;
    • At Key Stage 3 English, 25% of
    Maintained Schools were HTE (Higher
    than Expected) as compared to 2%
    Controlled schools;
    • At GCSE English and Maths, 14% of
    Controlled schools are
    underperforming, as against 4% of
    CatholicMaintained school.
    • 25% ofMaintained schools are HTE in
    English, compared with 0% (Zero)
    Protestant Controlled schools in the HTE
    (Higher than Expected) category.

    Curious how you come to the conclusion, I saw the stat that a slightly larger proportion of Catholic pupils received less than 5 GCSEs, but that’s obviously more than offset against the Protestant pupils ‘not reaching this level’.

    I then continued to read, getting so far as to reach the list of damning stats above.

    I should add, as usual I have my own axe to grind, having moved to Belfast aged 13 and moving from a Catholic school to a ‘integrated’ (>95% Protestant) school in Belfast.

  • Reader

    Congal Claen: BTW, catholic schools outperform State schools for a particular demographic.
    I hesitate to say this too dogmatically, but how about blaming the particular demographic?
    There is, after all, a similar demographic, with broadly similar educational issues, in the other community.
    The obvious problem with this analysis, is what can be done about it?
    At least now that DP has left the PUP nobody is going to be coming round to shoot the messenger.

  • Reader

    Neil: Protestant Controlled schools
    An interesting recurring phrase in the reports. Where are the Voluntary Grammer schools in the stats? Are they lumped in with the Protestant Controlled Schools, or left out of the stats. That would be very naughty indeed!
    By the way – there isn’t actually such a thing as a “Protestant Controlled school” – the very few Protestant schools are independent. As my question implies, it’s not even clear what the authors meant by the term.

  • Zig70

    The schools aren’t any better, the teachers aren’t any better (I had crazy de la salle Brother’s), the kids aren’t any dumber. The value placed on education appears to be slightly different. For me the problem is the lack of jobs for the lower achiever. Especially ones people aspire to. We can’t all be coppers and firemen and lots of jobs shouldn’t require a degree. Wish I knew the answer,

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Neil,

    “Curious how you come to the conclusion…”

    Because you’re only considering secondary schools whereas I’m including Grammars as well. Overall, the state schools outperform the controlled sector. If you were to imagine a bell graph, the state sector would have a lower peak ie less lumped in the middle but more at both extremes – high and low achievers. The controlled sector would have more in the middle and less low achievers but consequently less high achievers.

  • PACE Parent

    Curious that now that Dawn Purvis has joined Marie Stopes all the reports cited above are inaccessible. Nothing like a private sector job to sort out priorities.