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In the secondary (non-grammar) sector: 2.1% of Catholics attend controlled secondary schools; 0.8% of Protestants attend maintained secondary schools; integrated schools are attended by 14.4% of secondary school (non-grammar) students. In the secondary (grammar) sector: 7.7% of Catholics attend controlled high schools; 0.9% of Protestants attend voluntary Catholic high schools. Another interesting feature of the changes in post-primary education in Northern Ireland over the last 16 years is the increase in the number of pupils of other faiths, from 10,915 pupils.

This table shows that segregation in Northern Ireland schools decreased between 1997/98 and 2012/13 in Catholic grammar and Catholic secondary schools and in Protestant grammar schools. The 212 post-primary schools in Northern differed in terms of the proportions of their pupils achieving 5+ GCSEs at grades at A*-C and the proportions of their pupils achieving 5+.

Table 1:  Segregation in Northern Ireland’s Post Primary Schooling: 1997/98 and 2012/13  Protestant Pupils  Catholic Pupils  Other Pupils  Total Pupils  1997-98  2012-13  1977-98  2012-13  1997-98  2011-12
Table 1: Segregation in Northern Ireland’s Post Primary Schooling: 1997/98 and 2012/13 Protestant Pupils Catholic Pupils Other Pupils Total Pupils 1997-98 2012-13 1977-98 2012-13 1997-98 2011-12

Analysing access inequality

In contrast, of the 96,571 post-primary pupils in Northern Ireland who were not FSM or SEN pupils attended grammar schools while the remaining 42,735 pupils (44%) were secondary school pupils. Thus, one indicator of inequality of access in Northern Ireland's post-primary school system is that while the 26,569 FSM pupils made up 18% of Northern Ireland's total enrollment of 147,902 post-primary pupils, the 4150 FSM pupils only in grammar accounted for 7%. Similarly, while the 24,762 SEN pupils made up 17% of Northern Ireland's total enrollment of 147,902 post-primary pupils, the 4,147 SEN pupils in grammar schools made up only 7% of the total grammar enrollment of 62,113 pupils made up.

In contrast, while the 96,571 primary school pupils in Northern Ireland who were neither SEN nor SEN pupils (hereafter referred to as non-disadvantaged pupils) made up 65% of the total Irish enrollment Of the 147,902 post-primary students, 53.3 such students38 in upper cycle schools accounted for 86% of the total number of high school enrollment of 62,113 students. The majority of Northern Ireland grammar schools (51 out of 67) are classified under the 'voluntary' type of management. However, beneath this veneer, there is a clear binary division between the 67 grammar schools depending on whether they subscribe to a 'Protestant ethos' (38 schools) or a 'Catholic ethos' (29 schools).

A t-test showed that this difference between Protestant and Catholic high schools in their respective intakes of FSM students was statistically significant (t-value=5.19). However, the difference between Protestant and Catholic high schools in their intake of students with special needs - 6.6% and 6.8% of their student bodies respectively - was not significant. There are wide disparities in achievement between secondary schools and colleges (although this is less true within the Catholic sector), even when adjusted to account for between-group or between-person differences in achievement. iii).

While children from deprived backgrounds have difficulty getting into grammar schools in Northern Ireland, this is much more of a problem in Protestant, compared to Catholic grammar schools.

Table  6  explores  in  greater  detail  the  distribution  of  the  different  types  of  pupils  between  grammar  and secondary  schools
Table 6 explores in greater detail the distribution of the different types of pupils between grammar and secondary schools

Government Responses

Second, the results of the viability audits were then used as an empirical basis for the development of draft strategic plans for each of the five ELB areas. Although the bill is largely focused on ESA as an organization, ESA is only a means to an end. In fact, many of the clauses in the Education Bill are aimed at institutional change rather than focusing on school improvement.

Much of the content is about: ESA's role, membership and functions; the functions of the Northern Ireland Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment; management of grant-aided schools; new powers and functions for the Norwegian Education Authority; and new statutory duties for boards. The establishment of the ESA may well result in greater administrative efficiency in the management of the education system, but there is no guarantee that it will in itself improve educational outcomes. The establishment of the ESA has run into political difficulties and has been seen by some unionist politicians as a means for the current Sinn Féin minister to exercise greater control over colleges and the controlled sector.

Reward principals who take on leadership roles in underperforming schools, not based on the number of students in their school, but based on the magnitude of the challenges they face and based on their success in overcoming those challenges. Enhance the professional status of teachers by strengthening the role of the General Education Council as a professional body in supporting teachers and maintaining the highest professional standards. There is evidence that much of this work has been of limited value due to the nature of the contact.

The policy, with reduced resources, is a very blunt instrument and does little more than encourage schools to see how CRED can fit into core areas of the curriculum and strengthen pre- and post-qualification training in the teaching workforce.

An alternative approach

Catholic secondary schools and voluntary Catholic grammar schools are almost exclusively populated by pupils of that faith. Catholic parents, on the other hand, are much more likely to send their children to controlled grammar schools (around 7% of controlled grammars are Catholic) than vice versa (less than 1% of Protestants attend Catholic Grammar Volunteers). Co-education involves two or more schools or other educational institutions from different sectors working collaboratively with the aim of providing educational benefits to students, promoting the efficient and effective use of resources and promoting equality of opportunity, relationships good, equality of identity, respect. for diversity and community cohesion (Connolly et al, 2013).

Although in the abstract it is possible to reap the benefits of shared education by merging a Catholic and a Protestant school into one large school. Research evidence on the impact of integrated education tends to focus on reconciliation and its social benefits in the divided society that is Northern Ireland. These benefits arise from intergroup contact that can positively influence social attitudes towards 'the other'.

The evidence is summarized by Stringer et al (2000:11) when they conclude that meaningful contact with peers of another religion at school is more likely to make them. In a review of research on inclusive education, Hansson et al (2013) conclude that the extent to which preference for inclusive education exceeds preference for selective academic (grammar) education is unknown, citing McGlynn (2007). Hansson et al (2013:50) In fact, data on the performance of integrated schools show that controlled integrated schools are the worst performers in the post-primary sector, if judged by the educational outcomes of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs including English and Maths (see table 8).

Supervised Non-Grammar Catholic Maintained Non-Grammar Supervised Integrated Assigned Maintained Integrated Supervised Grammar Voluntary Catholic Grammar.

5+ GCSEs with English and Maths

Shared Education

Work by Lindsay et al (2005), Chapman and Allen (2005) and Chapman and Hadfield (2010) examines the possibility of comparing stronger schools with weaker schools to help improve their performance. Where improvements in student performance have been seen, it has often been where the most effective schools have teamed up with less effective schools to help them improve, where leadership has been strong and supportive networks and where the number of schools included has been limited. External support can also be useful in cases where internal capacity or trust between schools may be lacking (Muijs et al.

Evans et al., writing about the potential of collaboration, raise a fundamental question that is particularly relevant when applied to Northern Ireland: "how can collaboration and partnership overcome inequalities in a system based on choice and specialization that has the potential to so clearly as a covert selection of pupils based on ability and the underlying advantages of social class position?'. The co-education program has so far functioned mainly as a pilot for inter-community cooperation and building trust between schools (Gallagher et al, 2010). It can be risky because it is externally funded , while the Ministry of Education would be much more cautious, fearing a possible sectarian backlash among some parents and students.

Having demonstrated its potential for community collaboration, there is now a real opportunity to adapt co-education as a networking mechanism between schools in an effort to raise educational standards, tackle inequality and contribute to a more inclusive society. The policy opportunity exists in two key commitments made by the Northern Ireland Executive in the Program for Government 2011-2015, in which the Executive commits to: ensure that all children have the opportunity to participate in mainstream education programs by 2015; and significantly increase the number of co-educational schools by 2015 (Northern Ireland Executive, 2011). In Northern Ireland, there was a review of the school funding formula which offered opportunities to encourage participation (Salisbury, 2012).

Although the audit did not support this idea, the ministerial advisory group on joint education did.


Department of Education Northern Ireland (2011b) Count, Read: Succeeding with a Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy Attainment: Every School is a Good School. Department of Education Northern Ireland (2013): http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/facts-and- figures-new/education-statistics.htm accessed 14 May 2014. Nottingham: Department for Education and Skills. 2013) 'Educational attainment across the UK nations: performance inequality and evidence' Educational Research Challenges in Integrated Education in Northern Ireland' in Bekerman, Z. eds.).

2011) “Negotiating Difference in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland: An Analysis of Approaches to Integrated Education” Multicultural Perspectives. Hansard: Education Bill - Department for Education Briefing, 10 October: 3rd Northern Ireland Assembly: Research and Information Service. 2011:4) Educational Disadvantage and the Protestant Working Class: A Call to Action. 2010) 'First Minister pushes for unified education system in Northern Ireland'.

2012) Review of the Common Funding Scheme for Schools – Available at:. http://www.deni.gov.uk/review_of_the_common_funding_scheme.pdf. 1998) 'Mortality as an Indicator of Economic Success and Failure', Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 1980), 'A Class of Additively Decomposable Measures', Econometrica, vol. 2009) 'Intergroup contact, friendship quality and political attitudes in integrated and segregated schools in Northern Ireland' British Journal of Educational Psychology. One way to measure inequality in a variable is by the natural logarithm of the ratio of the variable's arithmetic mean to its geometric mean (Bourguignon, 1979; Theil, 1967; and Borooah, 2001).

If utility functions are logarithmic in form (which is U=log(ek)), then J represents the distance between the maximum level of social welfare (log( )e ) and the current level of social welfare. In other words, the Gini coefficient is calculated as half the difference in the number of successful students between pairs of schools, divided by the average number of successful students (S. So, G=0.4 would mean that the difference in the number of successful students between two randomly selected schools will be 80% of the average number of successful students: if S 80, this difference will be 64 students; G=0.1 would mean that the difference in the number of successful students between the two randomly selected schools will be 20% of the average number of successful students: if.


Table 1:  Segregation in Northern Ireland’s Post Primary Schooling: 1997/98 and 2012/13  Protestant Pupils  Catholic Pupils  Other Pupils  Total Pupils  1997-98  2012-13  1977-98  2012-13  1997-98  2011-12
Table 2:  Values of the Segregation Index in Northern Ireland’s Post Primary Schools  1997/98  2012/13
Table 3: Distribution of GCSE performance by type of school (2012/13)  Grammar School  Secondary Schools  Total
Table 4: Values of Gini Coefficients in the Inter-School Distribution of Proportions and  Numbers of Successful GCSE Pupils (2012/13)

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