jump to navigation

Colleges and third level and school league tables… November 22, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Capitalism, Class, Culture, Economy.

It’s fascinating some of the assumptions that underpin the 2011 Irish Times School League Tables published this week in the Irish Times. Not so much the following, though it seems to indicate that talk of access remains fairly rhetorical given the structural aspects of the system:

WHILE VIRTUALLY every student in middle-class areas proceeds to college, the progression rate is less than 40 per cent across huge swathes of working-class areas in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. The two-tier nature of Irish education is highlighted in the “2011 Irish Times School League Tables” published this morning.

But more so this:

Overall, this year’s list shows fee-paying schools and Gaelscoileanna tightening their grip on the top positions in the league tables. State schools within the “free’’ education scheme perform well in the overall top 50 list, which tracks progression to all third-level colleges.

And this:

But they perform less well on tables which track progression to high-points courses in the seven universities, the teacher training colleges and the College of Surgeons.

Note the distinction between ‘all third level colleges’ and ‘high-points courses in the seven universities’. I find it curious that these are the metrics used. What particular virtue do those courses, or indeed the seven universities, bring that ‘all third-level colleges’ don’t. In a way it reminds me of a piece in the Sunday Business Post some time back by Adrian Weckler which I took some exception to but which had a grain of truth to it where he noted the aversion by some of the middle classes to tech. My problem at the time was, as I noted… ‘He’s definitely correct in that we need to have the best and the brightest engage with science and technology. But… Weckler’s argument seems rooted firstly in misconceptions as to what represents the best and the brightest and secondly how that should be achieved.’ But I think we see some of that aversion in operation here in a back-handed sort of a way.

There’s a clear over emphasis in parts of the society as regards some types of education as against others and this list is evidence of same.

What does it tell us really? Nothing we don’t know already. That certain schools, and certain social groups, focus upon narrow outcomes. I tend to think that that’s a bad thing both societally, and perhaps individually. I suspect little or nothing will be done to alleviate this. In a period where economic intervention is seen as beyond the capacity of the state why should social interventions have any greater strength.

There are other issues as well. I wonder what it is like to be in a school where every single one of ones peers is going to third level and few if any are going to make any other choices as regards their life. Hard to think that that is the sort of pluralistic environment that opens minds in ways other than the academic. Or even that.


1. Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Colleges and third level and school league tables … - November 22, 2011

[…] “It’s fascinating some of the assumptions that underpin the 2011 Irish Times School League Tables published this week in the Irish Times. Not so much the following, though it seems to indicate that talk of access remains fairly rhetorical given the structural aspects of the system …” (more) […]


2. Crocodile - November 22, 2011

Strange case, Flynn. He seems to have free rein at the IT to present anything to do with education as ‘news’ even when it’s undisguised comment or unedited Department leak. And he has pages and pages to do it – 2 full pages every Tuesday and front page spots at least once a week, especially when he can work the words ‘private’ or ‘fee-paying’ into the headline.
One might, reading the property section or the Weekend magazine, expect the IT to be broadly sympathetic to the fee-paying sector, but Flynn presents both the failures and successes of the sector as evidence for the prosecution; his line is indistinguishable from the TUI’s and a rare example of the IT tending towards the left on any issue.
There’s the complication, though, that the grind schools buy advertising in the paper and its economic line is generally pro-market, so the likes of Ed Walsh and Ray Kearns get plenty of airtime. There are sympathetic features on private schools too, but Flynn never writes them. Above all, there’s a weekly session of union-bashing: everything that’s wrong in education is the fault of the teaching unions, according to Flynn.
In essence, the paper’s education coverage is consumerist: there’s an assumption that the parent, not the child, is the client. Teachers are the enemy and the education pages are strongly slanted against people who work in the field – as distinct from, say, the agriculture or business coverage, which is aimed at and therefore sympathetic to those who work in those areas.


WorldbyStorm - November 22, 2011

I agree he does seem to shift position depending upon when one reads his stuff. I used to think he was pro-union but then that seemed to change radically. Can’t say though that I disagree with the stance on fee-paying schools.


Crocodile - November 25, 2011

Guess who gets 2 pages in the ‘Innovations’ (sic) magazine of today’s Irish Times to say what needs to be done to save Irish education. Go on, guess…
Oh, ok. It’s Ed Walsh. How unusual.


WorldbyStorm - November 25, 2011

Fecks sake, I missed that. I will go read it now!


3. Shay Brennan - November 22, 2011

Ann-Marie Hourihan had a particuarly poisineous piece on teachers in the Times a year or so ago.
Flynn seems to be one of these ‘education has gone to hell, they can barely read and write these days’ types.


4. irishelectionliterature - November 22, 2011

The change in the careers of the middle and upper classes, allied to the introduction of ‘free’ third level in the 90s, has also led in part to a rise in that sector going to third level.
In the not too distant past a good number from private schools would have gone straight into the ‘family firm’ or even the family farm/ranch after their leaving certs.
Now though a larger percentage of family firms would tend to be in the medical or legal profession and not too many would go straight into farming. Hence third level education.


5. dmfod - November 22, 2011

By compiling these tables and not doing anything to control for socioeconomic factors or levels of academic attainment at intake, the IT is one of the principal fuellers of the private school boom. It makes little odds if they take an anti-private schools line elsewhere.


6. Laim smullen - November 24, 2011

Rob Smith
Private School are increasing in demand certain rich parts of the country including one St Columba’s College that charges € 15,570 per year is oversubscribed. This such not to surprising because during the last recession in the 1980s there was a boom in privates schools it is worth knowing that they were so oversubscribed that it lead to the founding the institute of education(1969) , Bruce collage(1984) and

portabella collage (1981)
In fact most the private school industry especially the grinds schools Seems to have taken off after we joined the then E.E.C. Most of the “grind school” Foundings seems to have taken place in the 1980s early 1990s during which was a time of University fees and very high personal taxes. But then again in that decade a whole string of golf clubs opened along the K-Club opening in 1990.
Grind schools

Welcome to Dublin Tutorial Centre

Centrally located in historic Georgian Dublin, Dublin Tutorial Centre (DTC) was established by Stephen Barcroft in 1978
Bruce collage 1984
yeats collage
http: //www.deanecollage.ie
Private schools
Teresian School opened in 1965. It is one of a number of schools run by the Teresian Association in different parts of the world.They follow the educational principles of St. Pedro Poveda, a Spanish priest (1874-1936), commemorated by UNESCO as a Christian humanist on the centenary of his birth in 1974.Pedro Poveda was beatified on 10 October 1993 and canonised on 4 May 2003 by Pope John Paul II

Coláiste an Phiarsaigh The Gaedhealachas Teoranta established the school in 1973,

Rathdown School for Girls, Dublin: Founded in 1973, Rathdown School is a private day and boarding girls’ school located in Glenageary in south county Dublin, on the east coast of Ireland. We provide 5-day and 7-day boarding for girls ages 12-18 years (Irish and international students) in our senior school, where we offer Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate curriculum programs.
Rockbrook Park secondary school was founded in 1973 by a group of parents. They wanted an environment that would combine academic excellence, personal attention to each student and sound moral development, with a close working relationship between teachers and parents. Thirty-three years on, this vision continues to inspire everything they do. Education in Rockbrook is grounded on a Christian understanding of the world and of the human person. Drawing on Catholic educational principles and social teaching the school emphasises the importance of character development. The school welcomes and respects students of other beliefs and accommodates these insofar as is practical. Attendance at religious education classes is optional for non-Catholics. Rockbrook emphasises character building as a key component in its educational philosophy. The school is small, thus allowing teachers to get to know their students well and to give more personal attention where required. Class sizes are also small, helping teachers to be aware of individual strengths and weaknesses. The school has strong international links and encourages the learning of languages. There are high standards in Irish, French and Spanish.

Rosemont Secondary School for Girls, located in South County Dublin, works with parents and students to maximize each student’s potential. Rosemont is one of the best secondary schools in Dublin for families who want their daughters to take ownership of their learning, set goals and pursue their studies with interest and enthusiasm. The school’s academic programme gets results:100% of Rosemont Leaving Certificate students qualified for entry to Irish third-level institutions. Our school was founded by a group of forward-thinking parents in 1977. They knew that strong, effective partnerships between parents and teachers are essential for children to achieve their greatest potential

St. Patrick’s Academy, founded in 1985, is a private Catholic independent fee paying second level school which provides full-time education for day students. We provide boarding facilities for boys. Girls are accommodated with local families. The school was founded as a student-friendly place where young people can learn and grow academically, spiritually and physically in a safe, caring, environment. The school is situated in a most picturesque setting among trees and woodland in the shadow of Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick. The surroundings lend themselves to a most tranquil atmosphere which in turn helps our students to benefit from a stress-free environment.

John Scottus School was set up in 1986 by a number of parents who wished their own children to be educated in the light of the philosophical principles which they were meeting in their studies in the School of Philosophy. The School of Philosophy offers evening courses in practical philosophy to adults. The aim of John Scottus School is to provide its vision of education to all who desire it, regardless of race, creed or social background. It further wishes that none should be deprived of access to this education because of financial constraints.

Also don’t believe withdrawing the € 100 million subsidy will any a effect on the financial status of these schools.
Here more information :
notes around the world:
In Britain in 1969 38% of Oxbridge students came from private schools
in 2008 45% of Oxbridge students came from private schools.
Note how Australia theoretically has 30% of its secondary student population in private schools.


7. irishelectionliterature - December 8, 2011

Interesting letter in the Irish Times today on “Studying School League Tables”. http://www.irishtimes.com/letters/
the nub of the complaint was

“Our position in the league table is inaccurate ….. We too provide an examination centre for a large number of adult education students; in our case this year 25 of the 72 you said did the Leaving Certificate were Adult Education students. This gave our school a figure of 21 per cent progressing to third-level. Excluding those 25 students, Errigal College had 47 students who did the Leaving Certificate and a progression rate of 32 per cent.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: