The Equality Commission Report.
More research of Protestant failure. Martin Luther turning in his grave. Same old. Same old story.
I would like to add a few thoughts to the research.
Number one. There are a lot of schools, principals, teachers and students who are outperforming the headline. To add weight to the published statistical trend, it might have been possible to add a few notices of success. There are more than a few!
Number two. I really don’t believe it is helpful to harp on about ‘Protestant’ underachievement, when many of my so called, ‘Protestant Boys,’ are doing really well.
Number three. Two of my so called, ‘Protestant Boys,’ got First Class Honours in their History degrees this year.
Number four. Why are we obsessed by labels?
Everybody knows that the current Education System in Northern Ireland is designed to favour those selected at age eleven to attend the local Grammar School, in the Catholic Sector and in the Protestant Sector. Moves were made to question this, but powerful lobbying forces intervened and political fudge was the order of the day. Let us be absolutely honest. All students have aspirations. All parents want their children to succeed. Whatever their ethnicity, their ability range, their origin or the religion of the student body, an educational structure should be envisaged and created to favour them all!!!
So. Where have we arrived? In nowhere land. A land that exists between powerful forces and what is right. My mother taught me the alphabet. My community explained how to use it in graffitti. My best friends showed me how to rub it out and start again and how to truly live in a land without labels.
I absolutely love my school and the staff that I am fortunate to work with. I don’t want to see any more surveys demoting the amazing efforts of the teachers or the great work students pour into their studies.
The big Northern Ireland educational question is this. After all the talks about talks. The legacy of the past, welfare reform and the great money debate, who lost and who won, 2016 and all else besides; as a society, are we willing to begin the biggest conversation of all and strive to create an educational structure and environment that ensures that all of our students are able to maximise their performance and succeed in this world?
Can we please build a Northern Ireland without labels?