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Introduction of Comprehensive Schools in Northern Ireland watch

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    (Original post by Lord Huntroyde)
    Judging by exam results, Northern Ireland outperforms mainland Britain and has done since the introduction of comprehensives in the 1970s. Northern Ireland is fully selective, children sit a test at the age of 11.

    However, despite Northern Ireland's academic success, the government plans to inflict comprehensive schools there in 2008. I say this is stupid as this will only bring Northern Ireland's standards down to our level instead of bringing our standards up to theirs.

    It could also be described as undemocratic considering the popularity if selective schools there.

    Is the government right to introduce comprehensives into Northern Ireland?
    Sorry your lordship, the Government has not decided to introduce comprehensive schools into Northern Ireland in 2008. It has decided to abolish the transfer test and at the moment there are a number of organisations deciding what should replace it. But it is intended that the Grammar Schools and their distinctive academic ethos should remain. I'm writing as a Northern Ireland Grammar School Governor with a copy of the Costello Report beside me.

    Yes, the selective schools in Northern Ireland have a good academic reputation but at the expense of the pupils in the other schools. "A" level results may be better than in the rest of the United Kingdom but GCSE results are among the worst. The current transfer test only gives 25% an "A" grade and many children have intensive private coaching to get through it. Many primary schools also spend far too much time drilling their pupils in test papers than offering a broad and balanced curriculum.

    Education and the teaching profession are very highly regarded in Northern Ireland for a number of reasons mainly to do with the historical lack of job opportunities and the perception that education is the only way to better oneself. My parents both became teachers in the Catholic system at a time when the other professions were effectively barred to them. Teaching was, and still is, considered a good career for many and it is much more difficult to get a teacher training place here than elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
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    (Original post by Lord Huntroyde)
    Judging by exam results, Northern Ireland outperforms mainland Britain and has done since the introduction of comprehensives in the 1970s. Northern Ireland is fully selective, children sit a test at the age of 11.

    However, despite Northern Ireland's academic success, the government plans to inflict comprehensive schools there in 2008. I say this is stupid as this will only bring Northern Ireland's standards down to our level instead of bringing our standards up to theirs.

    It could also be described as undemocratic considering the popularity if selective schools there.

    Is the government right to introduce comprehensives into Northern Ireland?
    From what I have read selective schools in northern Ireland help to increase the segrigation. I think that comprehensives should be introduced as an option. Like we have in the uk, there are still selective schools but more comprehensives. Introducing comprehensives will hopefully mean that the children who go to these schools get to know children from "the other side" and will maybe reduce segrigation.
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    (Original post by earthmother)
    Sorry your lordship, the Government has not decided to introduce comprehensive schools into Northern Ireland in 2008. It has decided to abolish the transfer test and at the moment there are a number of organisations deciding what should replace it. But it is intended that the Grammar Schools and their distinctive academic ethos should remain. I'm writing as a Northern Ireland Grammar School Governor with a copy of the Costello Report beside me.
    Yes, grammars will remain, as they do over here, but as this government is very pro-comprehensive it is no secret that it is this type of school that is most likely to be introduced in N. Ireland.

    [QUOUTE]Yes, the selective schools in Northern Ireland have a good academic reputation but at the expense of the pupils in the other schools. "A" level results may be better than in the rest of the United Kingdom but GCSE results are among the worst. The current transfer test only gives 25% an "A" grade and many children have intensive private coaching to get through it. Many primary schools also spend far too much time drilling their pupils in test papers than offering a broad and balanced curriculum.[/QUOTE]
    This is indeed a problem but it is not just a grammar school one, as has been mentioned on this thread, one English comprehensive ensures a 100% 5 A-C pass rate by making almost all pupils do a GNVQ in ICT worth 4 GCSEs, therefore each pupil need to only one more to get this 100%, league tables have forced this to happen and I believe should be abolished.

    Education and the teaching profession are very highly regarded in Northern Ireland for a number of reasons mainly to do with the historical lack of job opportunities and the perception that education is the only way to better oneself. My parents both became teachers in the Catholic system at a time when the other professions were effectively barred to them. Teaching was, and still is, considered a good career for many and it is much more difficult to get a teacher training place here than elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
    Indeed, three of my grandparents were teachers, two in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland for a time, but this respect does exist in parts of England too.

    Thank you for your contribution to this as you've helped clear many things up.
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    (Original post by Bezza)
    I was reading today about what a load of bs the tables actually are - I never realised before but GNVQs count as 2 or more gcses - GNVQ IT is worth 4!! At Thomas Telford School (inner city tech college, famed for 100% 5A*-C at GCSE), everyone takes this course which undermines it's brilliance a bit! Last year they earned over £1m selling its online curriculum material for this course to other schools trying to get a better reputation.
    Yeah but all their pupils do come out with 5+GCSE or equivelant, and they take kids accross the spectrum of ability not just the top, so kids who would leave school with no qualifications going to other schools get their 5 GCSE's even if 4 of them are GNVQ.

    I know a couple of people who have kids there and they work bloody hard a school day is 8.30am to 6pm. Having said that one kid I know of who goes there will end up with 17 GCSE's and I do wonder what the point is, surely it would be better to have 10 GCSE's and a couple of AS levels?
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    (Original post by Bezza)
    I was reading today about what a load of bs the tables actually are - I never realised before but GNVQs count as 2 or more gcses - GNVQ IT is worth 4!! At Thomas Telford School (inner city tech college, famed for 100% 5A*-C at GCSE), everyone takes this course which undermines it's brilliance a bit! Last year they earned over £1m selling its online curriculum material for this course to other schools trying to get a better reputation.

    Two things here I would like to comment on.

    First is, regardless of whether ICT is worth 2 or 4 equivalent GCSE's, the published league tables only show the best 8 grades at GCSE (they are capped at 8 whereas before 2 years ago a school could include all the GCSE's and as some schools entered their pupils for 12/13 they obviously were able to maximise the point score per pupil).

    My second comment is that once a school has used the ICT course to increase their % pass rate they cannot improve their % anymore. An example; say a school has a pass rate of 45% A*-C grades and the next year their pupils take ICT NVQ (foundation is worth 2 GCSE's) and pass at A*-C grade then their overall pass rate can jump by as much as 20% therefore improving from 45% to 65%. Once they have done this they have plateued and cannot improve on it. To say Thomas Telford's success is purely down to this is ridiculous because of the way the % works. They have an average intake covering all ability ranges from lowest 25%, middle and highest 25% in equitable numbers. They achieve 100% pass rate because of their excellent teaching methods and the ethos of the school. If anyone doubts this have a look at their latest Ofsted report.

    Chris Woodhead is a '********' and is so biased it colours every opinion he voices. Put him in a direct 'head to head' discussion with someone who disagrees with him and his arguments fall apart.

    The education profession loathe him with a vengence and do not have a good word to say about him.
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    (Original post by Bigcnee)
    How do you know it?
    I attended two other top catholic boarding schools. Stayed at Downside once for a week during the catholic 7's tournament as well.
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    (Original post by yawn1)
    Two things here I would like to comment on.

    First is, regardless of whether ICT is worth 2 or 4 equivalent GCSE's, the published league tables only show the best 8 grades at GCSE (they are capped at 8 whereas before 2 years ago a school could include all the GCSE's and as some schools entered their pupils for 12/13 they obviously were able to maximise the point score per pupil).

    My second comment is that once a school has used the ICT course to increase their % pass rate they cannot improve their % anymore. An example; say a school has a pass rate of 45% A*-C grades and the next year their pupils take ICT NVQ (foundation is worth 2 GCSE's) and pass at A*-C grade then their overall pass rate can jump by as much as 20% therefore improving from 45% to 65%. Once they have done this they have plateued and cannot improve on it. To say Thomas Telford's success is purely down to this is ridiculous because of the way the % works. They have an average intake covering all ability ranges from lowest 25%, middle and highest 25% in equitable numbers. They achieve 100% pass rate because of their excellent teaching methods and the ethos of the school. If anyone doubts this have a look at their latest Ofsted report.

    Chris Woodhead is a '********' and is so biased it colours every opinion he voices. Put him in a direct 'head to head' discussion with someone who disagrees with him and his arguments fall apart.

    The education profession loathe him with a vengence and do not have a good word to say about him.
    Thomas Telford School is rich (the profits do go to them?), and have funny looking and speaking teachers.
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    (Original post by happysunshine)
    Thomas Telford School is rich (the profits do go to them?), and have funny looking and speaking teachers.
    So? The teachers might be 'funny looking and speaking' but they're damned good at their job!
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    (Original post by yawn1)
    So? The teachers might be 'funny looking and speaking' but they're damned good at their job!
    Hehe, they get so excited when they get filmed in PC World.

    Well the point I was making, although not very clear, if the profits go to them then it is likely to have a massive effect on their school considering the size of these profits.
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    (Original post by yawn1)
    Two things here I would like to comment on.

    First is, regardless of whether ICT is worth 2 or 4 equivalent GCSE's, the published league tables only show the best 8 grades at GCSE (they are capped at 8 whereas before 2 years ago a school could include all the GCSE's and as some schools entered their pupils for 12/13 they obviously were able to maximise the point score per pupil).

    My second comment is that once a school has used the ICT course to increase their % pass rate they cannot improve their % anymore. An example; say a school has a pass rate of 45% A*-C grades and the next year their pupils take ICT NVQ (foundation is worth 2 GCSE's) and pass at A*-C grade then their overall pass rate can jump by as much as 20% therefore improving from 45% to 65%. Once they have done this they have plateued and cannot improve on it. To say Thomas Telford's success is purely down to this is ridiculous because of the way the % works. They have an average intake covering all ability ranges from lowest 25%, middle and highest 25% in equitable numbers. They achieve 100% pass rate because of their excellent teaching methods and the ethos of the school. If anyone doubts this have a look at their latest Ofsted report.

    Chris Woodhead is a '********' and is so biased it colours every opinion he voices. Put him in a direct 'head to head' discussion with someone who disagrees with him and his arguments fall apart.

    The education profession loathe him with a vengence and do not have a good word to say about him.
    The league tables we're talking about show the percentage of pupils acheiving 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE - if one course counts for 4 of these, they only actually need to pass 2 subjects to achieve this level.

    I never said they'd keep going up the league tables - since they're already at 100% there's surely nowhere else to go. Except down when they stop counting gnvqs.

    If their results are down to their teaching methods and ethos then why do other schools find it so difficult to replicate?

    I've never met Chris Woodhead so can't say whether he's a '********' or not - I assume you know him well to make this sort of judgement. As a former chief inspector of ofsted I'd expect him to have a pretty good idea of where our education system is letting us down.

    I'd love to continue but I'd rather not get into another big argument about selective education
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    (Original post by happysunshine)
    What pisses me off, is how there are no tables for %A*/A grades.
    I wish I could link to an example, but quite frankly I can't be bothered to scour the net for one. I know for a fact though that either the Daily Telegraph or The Times produce such a table in their summer post-mortems (can't remember which one). Afterall, this is largely the currency as far as the elite schools and universities are concerned.
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    (Original post by Bezza)

    If their results are down to their teaching methods and ethos then why do other schools find it so difficult to replicate?
    Other schools teach 9-3.30 or thereabouts TT teach 8.30 - 6pm and have a longer term, you work it out.
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    (Original post by mobbdeeprob)
    I wish I could link to an example, but quite frankly I can't be bothered to scour the net for one. I know for a fact though that either the Daily Telegraph or The Times produce such a table in their summer post-mortems (can't remember which one). Afterall, this is largely the currency as far as the elite schools and universities are concerned.
    Correct. Also if you visit most top schools websites they will give such details.
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    (Original post by Joey_Johns)
    Correct. Also if you visit most top schools websites they will give such details.
    Indeed, though I know for a sworn fact that these statistics can be fiddled within regulation though (all league tables and especially school website tables). Certain teachers that I know make no secret of the practice.

    The quality dailies do produce a raft of decent tables come August time though, I'm sure I can remember a composite table of independent and grammars to name but one.
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    (Original post by mobbdeeprob)
    Indeed, though I know for a sworn fact that these statistics can be fiddled within regulation though (all league tables and especially school website tables). Certain teachers that I know make no secret of the practice.

    The quality dailies do produce a raft of decent tables come August time though, I'm sure I can remember a composite table of independent and grammars to name but one.
    True. Such schools should be strung up. You can trust catholic schools though, upon no circumstances would they ever fiddle with exam result, be it by withdrawing candidates or post fiddling.
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    (Original post by Lord Huntroyde)
    Judging by exam results, Northern Ireland outperforms mainland Britain and has done since the introduction of comprehensives in the 1970s.
    Were the exam results in NI pre-1970s the same as in mainland Britain, or were they already better back then?
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    (Original post by zizero)
    Were the exam results in NI pre-1970s the same as in mainland Britain, or were they already better back then?
    Good question, the statement by LH seems to presuppose that this was the case. Maybe so?
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    (Original post by sashh)
    Other schools teach 9-3.30 or thereabouts TT teach 8.30 - 6pm and have a longer term, you work it out.
    If it's as simple as this why don't all comprehensives teach 8.30-6pm? You work it out.
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    (Original post by Joey_Johns)
    True. Such schools should be strung up. You can trust catholic schools though, upon no circumstances would they ever fiddle with exam result, be it by withdrawing candidates or post fiddling.
    I wont enter into conflict tonight, I've subtlely made my views known before on similar issues.

    Out of interest, can you tell me the top catholic independents? I saw a programme on the BBC a while ago about a school with monks (taking on an inner city Afro-Caribbean youth, who subsequently got expelled) it was quite interesting.
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    (Original post by zizero)
    Were the exam results in NI pre-1970s the same as in mainland Britain, or were they already better back then?
    Well you can argue anything with statistics. The present transfer test means that a large proportion of children in Northern Ireland are written off at 11 years. And yes, A level results are good for a number of reasons. You can look back to my earlier posts.

    But there are too many pupils failed by the Northern Ireland system and something needs to change. LH is wrong. There are no plans for a comprehensive system at the moment, just the abolition of the current transfer test. The whole question is extremely complex.
 
 
 
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