Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Access and Performance Inequalities: post-primary education in Northern Ireland

Borooah, Vani and Knox, Colin (2013): Access and Performance Inequalities: post-primary education in Northern Ireland. Published in: Journal of Poverty and Social Justice , Vol. 22, No. 2 (2014): pp. 111-135.

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The purpose of this paper is to evaluate school performance against a number of indicators which popular wisdom would regard as important in terms of influencing performance. One of the important of such indicators is school size because a large part of the NI government’s education policy is based on the assumption that creating larger schools, by closing smaller schools, will result in better schools. Another indicator is financial viability because an assumption often made in NI education policy circles is that schools which are in financial difficulty are also schools which perform relatively badly. Another hypothesis we examine is that school performance is affected by the type of management which operates the school. In particular that the differing levels of performance in Catholic (Maintained) Protestant (Controlled), and Integrated schools are in part due to the fact that they embody different approaches to educating children. Yet another hypothesis examined is that the presence of free school meal (FSM) pupils and pupils with special educational needs (SEN) negatively affects school performance. (FSM pupils are, of course, a surrogate for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and, although one may think of other surrogates, the most commonly used is eligibility for free school meals). These hypotheses are subjected to testing in a multivariate framework which allows for controls to be imposed on associated variables while the relationship between two variables is being examined.

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