Schools feeder list shows ‘shocking class bias’

Schools feeder list shows ‘shocking class bias’

Terence MacSwiney Community College. The ‘feeder schools’ list shows that the school is one of the lowest in the city for sending students to third level. However, the metric has been criticised by Mick Barry TD and members of the construction industry.

THE annual feeder schools list shows a ‘shocking class bias’ in the Irish education system, according to Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry.

The league tables, which show how many students from each school went on to universities and institutes of technology, saw private schools thriving while schools in disadvantaged areas ranked at the bottom of the table.

Although two-thirds of state-run schools are sending more than 70% of their students to college, fee-paying schools have the highest levels of progression.

Seven schools in Cork saw 100% of their graduates this year progress to third level education, including fee-paying schools Presentation Brothers College, Christian Brothers College, and Scoil Mhuire in the city.

The lowest ranking schools in the city were Nagle Community College and Terence MacSwiney Community College, both of which are Deis schools for disadvantaged students.

The list does not include details of students who entered PLC courses, apprenticeships, or other follow-on education.

Mr Barry called for a series of measures to make it college more accessible to students from schools in disadvantaged areas. “This report shows a shocking class bias in the education system. Measures need to be taken to tackle this inequality. Abolition of third level fees, increase in college grants and ending the state subsidy to fee-paying schools are just three of the measures that need to be fought for if equality in education is to be achieved,” he said.

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation, called the league tables “a ridiculous metric” that does a disservice to young people.

He said that it championed the college career path while ignoring apprenticeships and other pathways, which are hugely important in the construction industry.

“The practice of comparing schools based on the amount of children they get into college is a ridiculous metric that forces everyone down this path, regardless of their aptitude or interest. Especially when you consider that about one in every six young people drops out in the first year of college.

“Allowing schools to continually compete to see what numbers they can get into college, reduces students to just that - numbers - and does not put their interests or their future first,” he said.

He said that the college-driven approach is stopping schools from talking to students about other options.

“Currently, we are finding that schools are not even considering or discussing other options such as apprenticeships with students, at a time when there are great career options available in the construction industry and we expect activity to grow here even further as we continue to become a more modern, innovative and diverse sector,” he said.

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