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Children need stable family unit

Published 12/09/2007

In the ongoing debate on the future of post primary education the under achievement of children from disadvantaged backgrounds is frequently held up as evidence of the failure of academic selection. Is this fair?

We are told that children from Belfast's Shankill area in particular boys, do badly, but how many of them get home from school to see their father return from work? How many of them even see their father regularly?

It is wrong to generalise. Many children from disadvantaged backgrounds do well, driven by an ambition to succeed, but many don't and to blame under achievement on selection at 11 is naive.

It is a fact that children from stable family units on average perform better.

To put it bluntly, transforming our grammar schools into de facto comprehensives is not the solution. Addressing the thorny problem of benefit dependency and social breakdown is.

A S Drumbo

Belfast Telegraph

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