TUI has been consistently opposed to the compiling of feeder school lists for a variety of reasons, some of which are outlined by Union President Seamus Lahart below.
‘Every student is unique, as are their talents.
However, ‘feeder school’ lists promote a distorted and damaging view that educational success is dependent on students securing places on third level courses that require high points. They also suggest that immediate progress to third level is the only choice worth valuing and recognising.
Thankfully, a school’s work has always been more generous and expansive than the tunnel-vision suggested by such a limited mechanism.
These rankings ignore the colossal efforts of those students who have had the odds stacked against them because of, for example, various special educational needs, severe health issues, extremely challenging family situations or their first language not being English.
Similarly, the efforts of adult learners who have achieved significantly in only completing part of a Leaving Certificate are not acknowledged. In returning to education, these learners demonstrate extraordinary commitment.
And, at a time when Government policy is to double apprenticeship enrolments by 2020 to meet the growing skills deficit in our economy, these lists penalise schools that encourage or promote this vital and valuable pathway. Perversely, a school with a strong tradition of valuing apprenticeship will fall in the league table.
In terms of providing information, school principals are always willing to engage with the parents of prospective students to provide balanced information on the school across a range of contexts.
Thankfully, parents around Ireland appreciate the real value of our schools, with 83% of the public expressing satisfaction with the education system in last year’s OECD Government At A Glance report, compared to an international average of 67%.’