GCSE reform: “It is unlikely that the Minister’s decision on this issue would stop the current position…”

In June this year the UK Government’s Education Secretary, Michael Gove, welcomed Ofqual’s proposals for making changes for GCSE courses and, on 27 September, a consultation was launched on changes to the current GCSE specifications in England.  Today the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, launched a consultation on on making the same changes to current GCSE specifications here.  In England the consultation ends on 4 November, here it continues until 30 December. According to the Northern Ireland consultation document [pdf file] It is …

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“Republicans don’t accept that…”

Despite sitting in a Northern Ireland Assembly that requires Royal Assent to enact any legislation passed, the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, has told the BBC that he would not be prepared to meet the UK Head of State (Queen Elizabeth II).  From the BBC report [John O’Dowd] “There are a number of issues which need to be resolved before such a scenario would arise, including from a republican point of view, we were meeting a family …

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What do the GCSE Results tell us about employment propects?

The truth is, probably not a great deal. The trend in Northern Ireland is pretty established: best top end performances in the UK; and the worst record of students leaving with no qualifications at all. Education Minister John O’Dowd has been questioned several times about a .5% drop in the NI performance; which, to be fair to the Minister, is probably neither here nor there. The real problem is that after four years of Education being devolved to Stormont we …

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Ministerial Responsibility? It depends on who the Minister is

On Twitter this morning, John O’Dowd made the reasonable point that many of the calls for the Minister to resign are attempts to score political points. The proof is that few who are currently calling for the resignation seem able to say why. If you go to the Sinn Fein website you’ll see they’re scaling up the ‘this is political’ charge with a decidedly ungenerous swipe at Conall McDevitt. But if you dig a little deeper and go back to …

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