School sustainability numbers don’t add up
Friday October 26 marks the end of the consultation period for the Area Plans which will shape the future of our educational landscape.
When studied, these plans should cause alarm for all who care about the educational provision for our young people in Northern Ireland.
The consultation began on July 5, effectively reducing the consultation period to eight weeks as schools could not fully study the plans and engage with their communities until September.
No economic viability data is provided for the Integrated or Voluntary Grammar sectors.
Schools are labelled as unsustainable if they fail to meet the arbitrary figures of pupil access to 24 Key Stage 4 courses and 27 at post 16 level.
Providing a range of options is important but who came up with these numbers?
And on what educational merit are they based?
Why are we allowing the minister to promote the creation of large monolithic units when evidence from across the Irish Sea shows that such large institutions do not improve the quality of educational experience for pupils?
Finally, we have a ridiculous situation where schools from across Northern Ireland are labelled as unsustainable despite meeting the four key quality indicators within the Department of Education Policy ‘Every School a Good School’.