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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Class(room) Warrior

I nearly choked on my bagel this morning listening to Good Morning Ulster this morning. At 7.21am (about 51.30mins into the stream) Frank Bunting from the Irish National (sic) Teachers' Organisation commenced an interview about the governments' proposed blackmail on the issue of academic selection for post primary education. What followed was revealing in the extreme as Bunting ignored the governments' outrageous politicking with the educational system but launched a full frontal on selection.

It was then the mask slipped.

After an attempt to misrepresent public opinion on the issue Bunting let the class hatred which lies behind the attempt to destroy grammar schools shine forth. Listen to his remarks about middle class parents, the desire for private education and (for some reason best known to himself) Sports Utility Vehicles. Nothing about improving the lot of pupils in secondary schools. Nothing about addressing the need for proper vocational education. Just bile directed to those who defend the current system. The language, the invective used reminded me of the dying days of the Left at Manchester University almost twenty years ago. I can only hope this outburst signified the dying days of those, like Bunting, who are using the debate about selection to advance their out dated class based agenda.

We all know that abolishing academic selection is not just going to happen regardless of the impact on educational standards, the government must be fully aware (they've seen it in England and Wales) that what they're doing is sacrificing childrens' education in the name of some false egalitarian ideology.

Compare and contrast with UK teaching organisations calling for the return of selection in England!

Let's also have a look at the facts (courtesy of the Times):
"Northern Ireland still selects by 11-plus and the results have been startling. The percentage of pupils gaining five GSCEs at good grades is ten points higher than in England. At A Level, too, schoolchildren in Northern Ireland outperform their English counterparts: 30 per cent of subjects taken were awarded an A grade last year, compared with 22 per cent in England.

It is indisputable that bright children, particularly from lower-income families, benefit from a grammar-school education.

How I would love Bunting and his ilk to debate me on this. Fully agree with you and Beano.
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