Ah, the forces of conservatism are everywhere! It has been revealed by the biggest show in the country that no fewer than eleven primary schools have received warnings for tutoring their pupils for the proliferant 11+ exams…
Maggie Taggart in yesterday’s Newsline interviewed the head of one Primary school head who explained that the schools are simply responding to parent pressure and claims that if they don’t provide these sessions in some case parents will take their kids out and put them in somewhere else.
Tellingly when asked if he was worried about the repercussions of breaking departmental guidelines he gave a one word answer: No.
As Newton Emerson noted back in 2009 Northern Ireland schools enjoy a certain isolation from ideologic manipulation by Stormont. As noted by Pete at the time, the privatisation of the 11+ under a Sinn Fein minister left the Dept of Education with fewer levers to offset the postcode lottery effect of selection.
There is, of course, no need for tests of any description to disrupt teaching in NI’s primary schools. Indeed the last direct rule Minister with responsibility for schools made a perfectly sustainable suggestion of using Pupil Profiles to provide a fuller picture of a child’s aptitudes, interests and needs.
But we’re all about revolution rather than evolution, it seems… [Just one more heave, is it? – Ed]
In the meantime there’s always the nudge paternalism of the guidelines which you can follow or not follow, depending on how you feel inclined…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty