John O’Dowd: the education debate is “continuing in a better atmosphere” but it’s not yet time for all-party talks

John O'Dowd on East Belfast Speaks Out panel

I grabbed a very quick interview with Education Minister John O’Dowd as he headed down the corridor in Ashfield Boys School to go home after last night’s East Belfast Speaks Out community hustings. In the past few months he’s announced reductions in school budgets, given a partial reprieve after finding extra money for his department, and most recently announced a shake up of SEN/statementing. I asked whether this was all not a lot for school principals to have to deal …

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The not-so-elitist grammar school education (with the exception of Lumen Christi and Rathmore)

An article in today’s Belfast Telegraph [some detail now online] contains the results of this year’s Freedom of Information trawl around NI grammar schools to find out about their Year 8 entrance policies for the 2011 intake. With two different exam systems (AQE and GL assessment), varying degrees of using the overall scores or grades/quintiles, and some schools , the results are even more difficult to compare than last year (which I posted about in September). The chart below shows …

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Grammar school intake – hoovering up pupils at the expense of local secondary schools?

Chart showing which how pupils at each grade and quintile that were accepted in by each Grammar school in 2010

Having posted about and charted the recent GCSE results, my thinking turned to that old chestnut of grammar school intake. While some grammar schools manage to fill their First Form Year 8 places with pupils achieving the top grades/marks in transfer tests, others fill up with local students right the way across the academic spectrum. The Belfast Telegraph normally splash with them in mid-October when they have been collated (ie, FOIed). The 2011 figures aren’t yet available, so the charts …

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