Monday, March 28, 2011

Educational underachievement and disadvantaged PUL males

Rather than cross-post the whole thing, I refer you to a post I published over on Slugger last night.

It looked at the publication of the report into educational underachievement and disadvantaged protestant males by Dawn Purvis and her independent working group.

Protestant educational underachievement has been a much talked about situation over the years: generational unemployment, last of aspiration, lack of positive role models on top of the Troubles legacy, poverty, deprivation and family breakdown. Statistics bounce around the media about the low number of boys on the Shankill Road passing their 11 plus or gaining university places.

The set of reports and associated consultation reports and research has pulled together the figures along with consultation responses from individuals, education boards, teachers, academics and voluntary organisations. First-hand experiences from a focus group of Protestant teenagers was also considered.

Did you know (according to the initial consultation document) that:

  • 24% of children in NI live below the poverty line with 10% living in severe poverty?

  • children in NI are more than twice as likely to be living in persistent poverty as in the rest of the UK?

  • 8% of boys aged <15 have a disability, compared with 4% of girls?

  • 24% of working age adults in NI (in 2006) possessed no qualifications (in England the figure was 14%)?

  • socially disadvantaged Catholics perform better than their Protestant counterparts [in non-grammar schools], whereas grammar schools pupils have more similar educational profiles?

  • at GCSE English and Math, 15% of Controlled schools are under-performing, as against 4% of Catholic Maintained school?

The final report - a "Call to Action" - along with the preceding consultation document and response summary are all well worth reading to get a handle on the state of Ni's education system.

Update - one of the comments penned by "articles" below the main post on Slugger is worth quoting:

There is one group that has delivered for the kids that are destined to underachieve and that is the group that day by day delivers on time, every time. The dinner ladies. Would dinner ladies abandon school meals without preparing a contingency? No. Do dinner ladies treat the FSM kids inequitably? No. Could dinner ladies organise the school holidays better? Yes, you bet they could. Dinner ladies – what would we do without them?


Stephen Blacker said...


This is another good post the similar one on Slugger went off thread a bit. That reminds me on what will probably happen to this report, it will be forgotten. Dawn Purvis got a working group together that would be able to hold its own with any previous groups assembled on the subject of education and even with the recommendations having merit the big parties like the self-righteous DUP they will ignore it.

The DUP are still part of the old unionist mindset with the attitude of, "who will sweep the streets, who will work in the factories and who will fight our war's if everyone is educated" The main stream Unionists have had lots of time and warnings that these problems were growing and did patch up jobs from time to time but never got to grips with what was needed.

This report looks at problems inside & outside school and credit where credit is due this working group and Dawn Purvis has completed a difficult task and the least that should be done is the people living here demand our politicians take a very serious look at its findings.

Maurice said...

Maybe protestant boys have noticed that if they work hard at school, get qualifications and go to university that they will (maybe) get a half decent job but also start with £30,000+ of debt to pay off?

Maybe they are not so daft after all?