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Disparity in inspector's report merits investigation

I FOUND the chief inspector's report on the state of our schools fascinating (News, November 6), but noted the absence of any attempt to address a key issue to which it gives rise.

The report indicates that 84% of primary schools inspected were deemed good or better, but that one in three secondary schools "could not be evaluated as good".

Similarly, while "5,000 pupils leave primary school with standards of literacy and numeracy that are not good", a whopping "40% of secondary pupils do not achieve five good GCSEs (including English and maths)".

Surely this disparity or yawning gulf which appears to develop should merit the attention of educational researchers and appropriate remedial action? Is there a dwindling of interest and motivation as other preoccupations loom on teenagers' horizons? Do pressures in society bear down more on them?

Is there a falling-off in parental interest and support? Or is there a problem with the teaching in some secondary schools?

The report suggests that the last of these is a factor in some 47% of schools with regard to maths and 40% with regard to English.

It cannot, however, be the whole story and, as mentioned earlier, the disparity in outcomes merits thorough investigation, rather than just reporting.

T D JOHNSTON

Coleraine, Co Londonderry

Belfast Telegraph

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