A deferred educational revolution prefered to evolution…

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…

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  • kensei

    Pupil profiles are even more open to manipulation and massaging for the middle class than exam results! UCAS writ small! Oh look, Tarquain can play piano and is captain of the rugby team. Jonty is bright but disruptive in class.

    Awful, awful, awful idea. Just scrap the lot, or force the exam on everyone and force schools to take a representative percentage.

  • Dan

    Stormont’s incompetents have abused thousands upon thousands of our country’s children. They have had a decade to resolve this issue and have failed utterly. Have they even tried?
    Not one of them is worth a damned penny, never mind the millions squandered on them.

    Close it down.

  • chrisjones2

    More chilod abuse?

  • willieric

    It is rumoured that a great many Catholic parents deliberately send their children to RC primary schools, and then to state grammar schools. RC primaries are widely believed to provide a more rigorous programme for pre-11 yr olds, whilst the state grammar schools are less in thrall to religiosity than their Catholic counterparts.

  • Cue Bono

    Put the blame firmly where the blame lies and that is with Sinn Fein. The eleven plus was scrapped by Martin McGuinness because he personally failed it as a child and that failure had a traumatic effect on him. We all paid for thyat. It is also the case that SF are of the left and the left has a problem with grammar schools.

    Over in England the Labour party destroyed the Grammar school system and went down the route of Comprehensives. The result has been the grinding to a halt of upwards social mobility. In the fifties and sixties people from working class backgrounds were able to carve out careers that brought them prosperity and middle class lifestyles, because they were well educated in Grammar schools. They got into those grammar schools entirely on their own merit rather than because they came from wealthy backgrounds. Labour’s policy brought that to an end and contributed to keeping people in poverty. Only here was that policy exluded and NI has consistently had the best exam results in the UK.

    Not only have SF placed a terrible burden on the shoulders of parents and children, but they are idiologically wedded to making the same mistakes that were made in England and the results will be the same.

  • sean treacy

    Which SF minister privatised the 11 plus.I seem to have missed that.

  • Sliothar

    “The eleven plus was scrapped by Martin McGuinness because he personally
    failed it as a child and that failure had a traumatic effect on him”.

    So now you’re MMcG’s psychiatrist and you know this for a fact?

  • Superfluous

    Milton Friedman once noted “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

    I just had a friend from one of the most deprived areas of Belfast post on Facebook, proud as punch, that his son had passed the transfer test. This friend is the same age as me, from the same area as me and both of us had children when we were teenagers. I passed my transfer test, and he didn’t – and as expected my Grammar education contributed to me running off and making a comfortable middle class life for myself, while he still lives in the area, pretty reliant on state subsidies like I once was.

    So Sinn Fein want to get rid of this chance of an ‘out’ because it’s not very egalitarian, separating children by intelligence at that age – I see their point – it doesn’t feel very fair – but what have they put in its place to allow more working class kids the same chance this provides? Where are the positive results of this policy of good intentions?

  • barnshee

    It was al done for their own good by people who thought they knew better

  • Stephen Elliott

    That would be Caitriona Ruane. Remember her? She threatened legal action against those private exam agencies. She ranted and raved. She is now an object of ridicule on the 11 plus. Yet another SF minister who failed to deliver.
    Parents and pupils are content with the privatised system particularly since it filled a vacuum left by taxpayer funded ideologues.
    Many parents are not happy with the latest ruse – the use of dualling – where schools pretend to have a system that can be accurately combined to use the results of both tests in the guise of “sharing”.
    Keep political and religious and educationalist idiots out of the education system.