First Minister preaching integration whilst the road map burns?

Former UCU-NF candidate for East Londonderry Leslie McAuley, now with the Tories had some interesting remarks on Peter Robinson’s TEDx presentation yesterday..

“Integrated schools, which are actually out there providing shared education, are consistently being denied the funds and new buildings they need to satisfy demand from parents. The sector is not being given a sufficient voice in the bodies which run education. Neither integrated schools not grammars will have significant influence in the single Education and Skills Authority. Most disturbing of all, there is no apparent progress on a robust shared future document, with proper targets and incentives for tackling division in education.”

“Does the First Minister actually support sharing in schools in a meaningful way, or is ‘ending apartheid’ just shorthand for a Protestant politician attacking the Catholic sector? If Peter Robinson’s is genuine then we need to see progress on a shared future, action to restrain the education minister’s attacks on the integrated sector and grammars and some real backing for the parents who are demanding shared education, but being held back by the executive. Otherwise the First Minister’s words are hollow, insincere rhetoric.

  • caseydog

    There is a contradiction.at the centre of Leslie McCauley’s argument, in that he appears to be in favour of both integrated education and also grammar schools, which are certainly not integrated. Grammar schools disproportionately favour the better off members of society, as is evidenced by their free school meals intake. The transfer exam is used to socially select children.

    Lesley McCauley, and many others, including the Belfast Telegraph, appear to favour integration as long as it socially segregated integration..

  • oakleaf

    Most liberals are smug in this regard. They don’t care about religion as long they don’t have to share a school with the working class.

    While many integrateds are over subscribed there are also some that have a small enrollment and if had belonged to the controlled or catholic maintained sector would have shut long ago.

  • D.A.

    Leslie McAuley is female.

  • aquifer

    While the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools co-ordinate overprovision to recruit those of any religion and none?

    Any republicans in the house?

  • ayeYerMa

    The integrated sector is exactly what is hindering true integration. People like Leslie McCauley are the ones preventing us addressing the actual problem.

  • Reader

    caseydog: Lesley McCauley, and many others, including the Belfast Telegraph, appear to favour integration as long as it socially segregated integration..
    I don’t see anything in Leslie’s remarks that suggest she is refusing to accept that the Integrated sector is, and will remain, comprehensive. Her argument seems to be that the smaller sectors will be squeezed, and this is not a good thing.
    However, if you *do* want to get distracted by a discussion on selection, then how about this – maybe what the integrated sector needs is a couple of schools containing some ‘sharp-elbowed’ parent governers.

  • Here’s a telling comment from Lesley that I noted elsewhere:

    There are 62 integrated schools in Northern Ireland. Not one of them was planned by Stormont, a Minister of Education or the Department of Education. Parents started them all!

    Lesley Macaulay is the NI Conservatives education spokesperson; she also chairs the North Coast Integrated College parents’ forum in Coleraine.

    It would appear that parents are not represented in the current carve-up of post-primary education in the Coleraine district; so much for parental choice; vested interests rule OK.

    There are three area plans where there was supposed to be one. The Catholic schools and NCIC have each been ring-fenced and the other three schools – CAI, CHS and Coleraine College are to be merged into two.

    According to the Grapevine, there will be a co-ed voluntary grammar on the CAI site and probably a comprehensive on the CHS site with the Coleraine College campus being decommissioned. There are currently about 1650 pupils in CAI and CHS but I’m told the projected figure for the co-ed grammar is 1250, a reduction of 400 places. This proposal has apparently been endorsed by senior teaching staff, governors and education officials but parents and other members of the public have been kept in the dark.

    This past year, there has been a significant reduction in the first year intakes of Coleraine College, St Joseph’s College and NCIC, three schools with a high proportion of pupils receiving free school meals whereas the four ‘grammar’ schools all more or less filled their quotas and have a much lower propotion of pupils receiving free school meals.

  • oakleaf

    Glengormley IPS was open on St Patrick’s day. So much for a shared future.

  • The Raven

    “There are currently about 1650 pupils in CAI and CHS but I’m told the projected figure for the co-ed grammar is 1250, a reduction of 400 places.”

    Nevin, on a tangent that is probably only slightly related… My (from a Protestant background) nieces have plumped for Loretto. This was after doing the rounds of all the schools in the area. The eldest reckons that very shortly, the Protestants at the Loretto will outnumber the Catholic kids in the upcoming first year intakes.

    My point is – why are we bothering with this notion of Catholic and Protestant schools any more? I remember that in my own year of lads at the Inst, even 20 years ago, there was a healthy smattering of Catholic lads in what is notionally a Protestant school. (Yes, I’m using very broad terms there.)

    Imagine someone being bold enough to dump all notions of state, controlled and integrated sectors, and just having…wait for it…schools!!

    PS I must have missed the bit where Lesley aligned herself with Conservatives. *makes mental note to unfollow and shun*

  • Barnshee

    The over subscribed schools sit smugly and take only the equivalent of the As Int he NE Dalriada (because of its size) and Loreto because of its catchment -pupils from as far away as Banagher- have managed to “maintain their standards”

    With declining rolls- to protect bums on seats the others have taken further down the “ABC” continium. Inevitably “Our lady of Lourdes, Colerane College St Josephs etc have lost out.

    Desperate to avoid contamination with Prods, Loretto have “married” St Josephs -“Setting” preserves the A stream element at Loretto consigning the rest to -er Loreto-St Josephs so effectively no change

    Coleraine AI and Coleraine HS will amalgamate to allow a cream off of ” the A`s” and consignment of the rest to a sucessor to Coleraine College

    Plus ca change toujours la meme chose

  • oakleaf

    Raven only 4.6 % of the pupils at the Loreto are protestant according to DENI stats. Dominican in Portstewart is much higher at 32 % with 15% from other/none background.

  • The Dominican ethos in Portstewart is being promoted by the Clerk of Session of Ballywillan Presbyterian Church. DCP might well have a broader community intake than NCIC but both are protected species in the proposed area plans.

    Those parents who prefer single-sex education for their children have been left out in the cold.

  • “”Setting” preserves the A stream element at Loreto”

    Barnshee, as of September 2012 ‘pupils transferring to Loreto College [pdf file] are no longer required to sit the GL assessment to gain entry into Y8 in the college’. Will an alternative form of ‘filtering’ be used to distinguish between those admitted to Loreto and to St Joseph’s? The ‘traditional feeder schools’ filter will reduce the potential non-Catholic intake.

  • Barnshee

    Will an alternative form of ‘filtering’ be used to distinguish between those admitted to Loreto and to St Joseph’s? The ‘traditional feeder schools’ filter will reduce the potential non-Catholic intake.

    See ” etting ” above

  • caseydog

    This debate has been dominated by those who live on the North Coast and who inevitably know more about the local schools than I do. However I read Dr Bob Cummins (Principal of Dominican) introduction in their website (Nevin has highlighted it above) and was intrigued that he described Dominican as ‘inclusive’ because they admit loads of Protestants. He obviously sees no problem in the use of the transfer exam to exclude loads of less well off Catholics and Protestants.

  • Zig70

    Peter Robinson has lost any trust to enable him to be an advocate of integration. There was a time when liberals saw him as trying to unite us but now every time he talks it comes across as wanting annihilation of the other lot. I’m not a fan of people who preach against diversity. I also don’t like school kids being used as a soft political target. Where is the plan to integrate housing? Needs to be done in conjunction with schools otherwise it’s numbed. However that might neuter the sectarian vote and indicates the motivation for integrating schools is a mono cultural blinkered mindset rather than a desire for a better society. Really getting to dislike Robbo, which is probably a sign he is doing the right thing electorally.

  • Barnshee, Loreto has opted out of the GL assessment process as, presumably, will have many of the feeder schools yet I imagine it will still remain a voluntary grammar school in all but name.

  • caseydog

    Nevin : I’m puzzled. How on earth does a school like Loreto, which has just changed to using non-selective admissions criteria become a voluntary grammar school in all but name? Am I missing something?

  • BluesJazz

    caseydog
    Dominican College has a high percentage of atheists on its enrolment. The fact that it has a Presbyterian elder as Principal is immaterial. Assumption Grammar, Ballynahinch had a Protestant / Agnostic principal for years.
    Class trumps religion every time.
    For the parent, better that they mix with other middle class pupils, religion or constitutional politics is practcally irrelevant. getting to a Russell group university is relevant.
    The non-grammars are sectarian sink schools.
    Only the FE Colleges are exempt from this .

    Most (educated-grammar) children are now atheist/ agnostic anyway and very few have any interest in the assembly gravy train. They tend to find work on the mainland or USA/Australia.
    Leaving the lumpenproles behind in either ‘community’.
    So it goes.

  • caseydog

    This is a extremely poorly informed response, BlueJazz. To suggest that non-selective schools are sink schools – what about Kilkeel High School, Dromore High School, St Catherine’s Armagh, St Joseph’s Crossmaglen, St Patricks Maghera…etc etc. where have you been over the past twenty years? These, and other non-selective schools have made a huge contribution to raising standards in NI. Get with it, BlueJazz!

  • BluesJazz

    caseydog
    You had to mention specific schools to strengthen your response.
    I could list a much larger number of secondary (non-grammar) schools that are, simply, dumping grounds.
    Kilkeel High School, St Catherines Armagh-indeed Saintfield High, like Dromore and others are performing exceptionally well outside the academic elite.
    Others are shit, I wont name them.
    We have a hierarchy. Lumen Christi, Methody, Inst , Rathmore who see themselves alongside Harrow, Rodean, Eton etc.
    At the bottom.. to many to mention. Such is life. Someone has to clean the toilets. Or become ‘disabled’, at 18.

  • oakleaf

    BluesJazz while you have some valid points you go and ruin it all with your obsession with Atheists and FE.

    I went to a secondary school and then tech before university. I enjoyed the tech and learned a lot but there was lots of wasters there as well because they simply didn’t want to work. That was 10 years ago so probably has worse since.

    In some of these schools a lot of the pupils are not interested in learning. What can you do about that? It’s all to do with your upbringing.

  • oakleaf

    By the way my local secondary was/is a great school. Many go on to university and others head in the hands on way of life doing well for themselves.

  • Barnshee

    “Class trumps religion every time.
    For the parent, better that they mix with other middle class pupils, religion or constitutional politics is practically irrelevant. getting to a Russell group university is relevant.”

    A welcome reality check- especially “Class trumps religion every time.” and “getting to a Russell group university is relevant” a must (and avoiding the poorly regarded courses at uni)

    The secondaries that do well generally have no selective school in close proximity and are thus prone to being oversubscribed

  • caseydog

    Just for the record, BlueJazz. Both Inst and Methody perform below the NI grammar average(77%) in terms of pupils gaining 3 or more grade C or better at A level. In 2012 Inst achieved 62% and Methody 75%. Could do better!

  • oakleaf

    Caseydog any chance a few boys might be good at Rugby but are not the brightest in the world? It would not be the first time a sports person gets a bye with it come to a lack of intelligence and getting into a Grammar school.

  • Reader

    caseydog: In 2012 Inst achieved 62% and Methody 75%. Could do better!
    In their prospectus, Inst claim to have got 79% in 2012, you could take it up with Advertising Standards, I suppose:
    http://www.rbai.org.uk/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=file&id=170:prospectus&Itemid=335
    And Methody claimed 77.2 in their prospectus (bottom of page 15) :
    http://www.methody.org/PDF/MCB-Annual-Prospectus-2012-13.aspx

  • BluesJazz

    Reader
    Irrelevant as only A* grades count anymore as being a bit above average. Getting a C grade at GCSE means you can (just about) spell your name and at A level means you can get out of bed before lunchtime 1 day a week.
    QUB makes it in the mediocrity stakes but you wouldn’t employ a UU graduate to mow your lawn.

  • caseydog

    The information on exam results comes from ‘The Detail’ which obtained them from the Department of Education’….

    https://batchgeo.com/map/15093aab399979cb0c1cbda3a7772a81

  • Barnshee

    “QUB makes it in the mediocrity stakes but you wouldn’t employ a UU graduate to mow your lawn.”

    It all depends on the facilities involved

    Standards are still fairly good in Law and Medicine— Foreign Languages and English less so (try an FOI on admission standards/points)– however they let them so they have to get a degree

    The “professions” reserve the last word by imposing “professional” exams I am reminded of a statistic from long ago— that only 10% of students entering accountancy would actually qualify