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Improvements in NI education system


Cruimh

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Well done to all concerned - even, dare I say it, The Minister.

How Northern Ireland became the new Finland - The Irish Times - Tue, Jan 15, 2013

Teachers and policymakers in Northern Ireland got a surprise Christmas present last month, in the shape of an enviable slot in international literacy and numeracy rankings. According to the study, Northern Irish primary pupils performed better in reading and numeracy than in any other English speaking country in the world.

Investment, improved staffing levels and allowing teachers to use their skills.

Some good news for a change.
 


InsideImDancing

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harry_w

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The Irish Times must have forgotten how to spell Sinn Féin and Caitríona Ruane, Education Minister 2007-11. :lol:

Department of Education (Northern Ireland) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In my opinion, the most effective minister anywhere in Ireland in recent years, based on administration of the department and now in outcomes validated by tests against international benchmarks conducted in 2011, at the end of her term in the department.

The executive was only operational for 2 and a half of those years 2005-2010, from May 2007 (having been suspended since 2002, at the insistence of the UUP and British).

Northern Ireland Executive - Wikipedia - Dates: 1999-2002, 2007-2011 & 2011-

So Catriona Ruane couldn't have been sending £325million (or £353m) back to Westminister in unused capital expenditure, as you stated, she wasn't even the minister for most of that time.

That would be obvious to anyone if you'd cite the source for your claims in the first place, but then you couldn't blame Ruane and Sinn Féin for the underspending of British NIO ministers.

NIAO: Report - School Design and Delivery, 25 August 2010, See pages 3, and 21-22:



Opening Budget £1210m - Final Outturn £857m = £353m :eek:

Having ignored the relevant years, you've also ignored In-Year Changes averaging £61m a year under the NIO. Catriona Ruane halved those to an avg. £31m per year. To quote the report you cited (p.21): "The Departments capital expenditure forecasting and monitoring has improved in the last two years."

After In-Year Changes, the actual Underspend averaged £35m a year under the NIO, largely the result of planning and management issues, that's 20% of Final Plan budget for those years. Ruane reduced that to £2m, then £0m in her last year in charge. That's 99.5% of the budget available, and underspend of 0.5%!

You're referring to a report that highlights how effectively Catriona Ruane managed Education compared to the 'New Labour' NIO ministers before her.

As Ruane said: DE: Capital Review: 29 Jun 2010: Northern Ireland Assembly debates

I do not believe that PPP projects provide best value for money. I inherited some PPP projects, which have gone ahead as a result, but I have not initiated any new PPP projects. I believe that there is a better way of doing it, and I believe that the way that we are doing it at present is better.

Of course we have to look at maintenance and continue with our maintenance budgets. However, it is very short-sighted to focus on maintenance and not on newbuilds, because that would mean that the schools estate would just be maintained and a situation would be created where there is constant maintenance but no newbuilds.

[...]

I can tell him [Paul Givan (DUP] that £62 million was handed back two years before I came into post and £94 million the year before I came into post. That is where the inaction was. I do not know what part of 99·9% of a capital budget the Member does not understand. If he does not understand it, he needs to go and do his sums.​


Calculators all round! ;)

Financially sustainable schools matter, not least because of that maintenance backlog, and because pupil numbers have fallen (p.3) 354,000 in 1996-7 to 323,000 in 2009-0 (-9%) and surplus capacity (i.e. an inefficient allocation of resources) had risen from 35,000 in 1999-0 to 54,000 in 2008-9.

So apart from not initiating any PPP projects, improving planning, eliminating underspending and addressing inefficient allocation of resources, what else could Catriona Ruane have done for you in the Department of Education? Make the tea?

I really can't imagine John O'Dowd could equal her performance in terms of financial administration (which was seeing 20% of final budgets unspent before she arrived), but if his approach can make progress on the transfer selection issues, that may be just as valuable in the long term.

Now really, who's playing 'populism for the plebs'? :confused:
£0 underspend in 2009/10. :shock2:

'With a calculator in one hand ...'
 

InsideImDancing

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For some reason I thought you were in your early 20s - though I guess in theory you could be ;)

Teachers (and teaching generally) were under-appreciated and neglected.
Nah mate, I'm getting oul, fek'n 29!:shock:

I got in there early and got the job done, 'case anything went wrong in later life. I kid you not! (excuse the pun)
 

InsideImDancing

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The Irish Times must have forgotten how to spell Sinn Féin and Caitríona Ruane, Education Minister 2007-11. :lol:

Department of Education (Northern Ireland) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In my opinion, the most effective minister anywhere in Ireland in recent years, based on administration of the department and now in outcomes validated by tests against international benchmarks conducted in 2011, at the end of her term in the department.

£0 underspend in 2009/10. :shock2:

'With a calculator in one hand ...'
I never had a problem with Ruane tbh, there was an unstable period but that's standard when changes are made.

Strangely two of my nieces (bright girls) didn't bother with the 11plus - there's a lot of good non-grammar schools about these days.

My youngest's primary School is a very good School as most are these days, they go on all manner of trips, to museums, farms, safety days, never out of the library etc etc. They also have computer/gardening/martial arts/crafts clubs. You didn't get much of that craic wayyy back in my day.:) They even were happy to do summer homework, they certainly didn't have that back in my day - thank fk!
 

InsideImDancing

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The good news is that you'll still be in your prime when the grandchildren arrive :)
:shock::shock::shock:

Thing is I'll be 37 when they are both adults so I can get a bit of travelling in. It would be nice to have another one but I don't thing I could live with the panicking! So much for bonking for the border, eh?
 

physicist

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Shame we can't those unemployed student teachers from St Mary's in to help build the educational confidence of our fair neighbours in East Belfast who may need a little push, indeed it tough to trying to argue about supporting integration in schools when people drop out long before they reach the stage of basic calculus.
 

DT123

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The fact that Ruane sent her children to a grammar school whilst calling for their abolition,seems to be lost on her fans.
 

DavidCaldwell

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I would echo the OP's congratulations to Ruane and everyone working in education.

With regards to the question of the future of the grammar schools, the fact that the NI system is working relatively well suggests that major changes might run the risk of making things worse rather than better. Maybe it would be best to look for incremental improvements.

If a set of small changes (each which can be given time to be shown to work) leads to the end of the grammar school system, then so be it. But I would be against a single, drastic change with uncertain results to a system that is working well (as least relatively to other education systems).
 

DT123

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I would echo the OP's congratulations to Ruane and everyone working in education.

With regards to the question of the future of the grammar schools, the fact that the NI system is working relatively well suggests that major changes might run the risk of making things worse rather than better. Maybe it would be best to look for incremental improvements.

If a set of small changes (each which can be given time to be shown to work) leads to the end of the grammar school system, then so be it. But I would be against a single, drastic change with uncertain results to a system that is working well (as least relatively to other education systems).
The headteachers in the most successful schools,should be head hunted and paid top dollar to take over the running of the grossly under achieving schools.Too many staff in the "sink" schools are content to trouser their salaries and ignore the kids,as they are expected to "fail" anyway.Like the private sector,targets need to be set and teachers who fail to meet them,dismissed.Disruptive pupils should be removed to "special" schools where they cannot effect the progress of those that wish to learn.

"Bad" teachers and "bad" pupils should no longer be permitted to interfere in the education of pupils in the non grammar sector.
 

Glenshane4

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Shame we can't those unemployed student teachers from St Mary's in to help build the educational confidence of our fair neighbours in East Belfast who may need a little push, indeed it tough to trying to argue about supporting integration in schools when people drop out long before they reach the stage of basic calculus.
Please leave the Prods to sort out their own schools.

Not all Catholic schools are good schools. Some are bloodly awful. There is plenty of under-achievement among Catholic boys - not all of it the fault of their schools. And the education of boys from working class backgrounds is not just a Northern Ireland problem. Indeed, in comparision with the cities of England, we barely have a problem.
 

DavidCaldwell

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Please leave the Prods to sort out their own schools.

Not all Catholic schools are good schools. Some are bloodly awful. There is plenty of under-achievement among Catholic boys - not all of it the fault of their schools. And the education of boys from working class backgrounds is not just a Northern Ireland problem. Indeed, in comparision with the cities of England, we barely have a problem.
If we try to put to one side, for the moment at least, the PUL/CNR divide, wouldn't you be in favour of help being given to your fellow Belfasters/Irish/humans (choose whichever category you wish)?
 

Ó Ghabhainn

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I would echo the OP's congratulations to Ruane and everyone working in education.
Just so you know, the OP doesn't congratulate Ruane. John O'Dowd's the Education Minister.

Good news anyway. And undoubtedly both MLAs had their input, as did McGuinness before them.

I agree with Physicist on East Belfast.
 

Glenshane4

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If we try to put to one side, for the moment at least, the PUL/CNR divide, wouldn't you be in favour of help being given to your fellow Belfasters/Irish/humans (choose whichever category you wish)?
If I were a Prod, I would resent any suggestion that Protestant schools need interference from Catholics. I think that we should not interfere with the Prods and that the Prods should not interfere with us. The peace walls are there for a purpose, a good purpose.
 

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