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?