Irish Journal of Education, Vol. 31, 2000

LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORITY ADMINISTRATION IN NORTHERN IRELAND AFTER PARTITION: THE EARLY YEARS OF THE COUNTY DOWN EDUCATION COMMITTEE 1925-31

George Beale

The new concept of local education authority administration in the devolved state of Northern Ireland is explored, focusing on the establishment and work of the County Down Regional Education Committee. After the passing of the Education Act (Northern Ireland 1923, there were extensive negotiations between the county council and the newly appointed Ministry of Education, particularly in relation to the issue of a single county administration. The debate with the Ministry and reaction to the council’s proposals are considered. The duties and responsibilities. of the education authority are also discussed, and an assessment of its progress during the early years of administration are examined.
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EXPLAINING PERFORMANCE ON THE JUNIOR CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION: A MULTILEVEL APPROACH

Nick Sofroniou, Gerry Shiel and Judith Cosgrove

Hierarchical linear models of achievement on the Junior Certificate Exam nation are presented. Response variables consist of the Junior Certificate Examination grades in English, Mathematics, and Science of students who participated in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA in 2000, scored according to a points system. Explanatory variables consist of answers from students and the principal teachers of their schools to questionnaire items. The models compare well with earlier models of performance on the PISA reading, mathematical, and scientific literacy scales, in terms of the proportions of between-school and wit  in-school variance they explain, and in confirming the contributions of a range of school and student-level variables to performance, including school disadvantaged status, school type, student socioeconomic status, student gender, home educational environment, risk of dropping out of school, and attitude to reading. The results are discussed in terms of the methodological issues they raise as well as their implications for addressing underachievement among some students.
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THE LEISURE ACTIVITIES OF FIFTH GRADE PUPILS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO PUPILS’ READING ACHIEVEMENTS

Judith Cosgrove and Mark Morgan

The leisure activities of Irish fifth grade pupils are examined and linked to their achievements on a measure of three domains of reading literacy (Narrative, Expository, and Documents). Three-quarters of pupils read books at least once or twice a week, and about two-thirds read newspapers/magazines/comics with the same frequency. Seven in 10 pupils watched TV/video at least one hour each school day; at weekends more than Sin 10 did. Fewer pupils (18% played computer games during the week, but the number doubled at weekends. Leisure reading correlates positively with reading performance and negatively with computer game playing and TV/video watching. Gender differences in leisure activities are evident, with boys spending more time watching TV/videos and playing computer games, and girls spending more time reading.
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THE COLLEGE IN THE COMMUNIFY, LOCATION AS A MEANS OF COMBATING EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY

Catherine Forde

Research conducted in 1996 and 2000, the results of which are presented in this paper, shows that educational disadvantage is an ongoing problem in Cork city and stems from a combination of economic, social and cultural factors Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork propose to establish a joint campus on Cork’s northside, where much of the city’s socioeconomic and educational disadvantage is located. The colleges expect that the proximity of the new campus to the target community and the provision of specific programmes and facilities will help to facilitate greater participation in higher education by underrepresented groups. While the findings of the research reported in this paper support the initiative for the proposed campus, it is argued that its physical location in an area of socioeconomic disadvantage will be insufficient to increase participation in higher education in target communities. The campus must also have estates comparable to that of its parent institutions, its provision should reflect the needs and expectations of the community at which it is targeted, and it should constitute just one facet of an integrated set of policies and strategies aimed at combating educational inequality and increasing participation.
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MIDDLE MANAGEMENT IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Mary Ryng

The development of posts of responsibility in Irish primary schools since the 1970s and procedures for appointment which were last revised in 1997 are described. To investigate the operation of the system, principal teachers in the Cork area were asked to respond to a postal questionnaire. Large majorities of respondents viewed the recently revised procedures as an improvement and agreed that having participated in inservice education relating to educational administration should be a factor in the selection of teachers for posts. However, over three-quarters also felt that seniority should be a factor. In fact, in a majority of schools which had a post to offer in the first round of allocations, the most senior candidate was appointed. Concerns that arise from the operation of the revised procedures are presented.
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