Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Structure and Performance of Post-Primary Schools in Northern Ireland

Borooah, Vani and Knox, Colin (2015): Structure and Performance of Post-Primary Schools in Northern Ireland. Published in: The Economics of Schooling in a Divided Society No. Palgrave Macmillan (2015): pp. 62-80.

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In this chapter we question the prevailing belief in Northern Ireland’s education circles that large schools make for better schools. There is little evidence that a large number of pupils in a school makes for a better GCSE performance. It is true that a large sixth form produces better GCSE results (in much the same way that a flourishing postgraduate program in a university department produces better undergraduate results) but (just as with a university’s post graduate programme) it is not the sixth form per se but the sixth form as an instrument for attracting good teachers that does the trick. The policy point is that there are several, possibly cheaper and more effective, ways of attracting good teachers to a school than through a large sixth form.

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