Pages

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Who's afraid of the big bad church?

Martin McGuinness apparently.  Following Peter Robinson's speech on Friday (the main point of which has been missed in the kerfuffle - the proposal of a long-term strategy to transform our school system), the Deputy First Minister who has repeatedly called for leadership, bravery (insert your peace process cliche) over the past decade or so is fearful of 'taking on' certain interest groups:

"If Peter thinks taking on the Catholic Church, the Catholic bishops and indeed the Protestant churches for that matter and other interest groups is a sensible route to go, I think that is a big mistake,"

4 comments:

Burke's Corner said...

The FM's proposal certainly needs 'fleshed out' - it did sound like an argument for secular education. It ignores the fact that church schools are a common - and significant - feature of life across the UK. It also does not seem to take into account the fact that Maintained Schools outperform other schools in NI - think of the top 10 grammar and non-grammars. Why seek to undermine the ethos of a system that delivers so well? Why not seek to make the Controlled Sector more like the Maintained in terms of the importance of ethos?

Just for the record - these are personal views, genuine questions about the party proposal, and definitely not an expression of party politics(!).

Lee said...

Personal views here too on this proposal.

"The FM's proposal certainly needs 'fleshed out'"

Hence the Commission to produce the plan.

"It ignores the fact that church schools are a common and significant - feature of life across the UK."

With many of them not in receipt of state funds e.g. Blair and Clegg's children. Also can NI not take a lead on a issue?

"Why not seek to make the Controlled Sector more like the Maintained in terms of the importance of ethos?"

Because the average controlled sector principal runs a country mile at the mere suggestion of 'ethos' (despite this being highly questionable on rights grounds). The research into issues like the history curriculum where the controlled sector avoided it as much as it could is a demonstration of this attitude.

The means of getting an ethos that serves all sections of the population is more likely to be created in a new system. It would also end the poor cousin status of the controlled sector.

Also ethos has become a partial mask for the issues of leadership in schools and for holding on to older and more successful teaching techniques.

Burke's Corner said...

The vast majority of CofE and RC schools in England are state-funded - and incredibly popular with parents.

I find it difficult to believe that there is not a relationship between ethos and the Maintained Sector's dominance in the 2 top-10 tables.

I agree with you on the issue of ethos and many post-primary controlled schools - but it strikes me that a understanding of the controlled sector ethos is still prominent in the primary sector.

Finally, there is the issue of the reported comments of the FM (I haven't seen a script) - they did appear to be very hostile to churches involvement in education generally, not just with reference to the controlled sector. That is a very significant issue in light of the experience in many jurisdictions that church schools produce results.

As I said, all of this is offered in the spirit of being a critical friend.

Lee said...

The text of the speech is linked to in the post.

"I find it difficult to believe that there is not a relationship between ethos and the Maintained Sector's dominance in the 2 top-10 tables."

I refer you to my earlier comment about what how much ethos is a cover for other factors. If you look at how failing schools are turned around quality of leadership is the key with a culture of success intsilled by that leadership. The term ethos could be applied to these as well.