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Cassidy's Comments: A Former Head's Views on Current Educational Issues

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The Times They are a Changing – for Examinations in Northern Ireland

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 03/09/2019 As Northern Ireland once again excels in this year’s A level and GCSE results, it is gratifying to see a realisation by the local examination authorities that our pupils must be able to compete on equal terms with their counterparts in England. The planned introduction of the C* grade at GCSE ens...

Are School Inspections Changing?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 20/05/2019 In a recent speech to the Schools North East summit, Chief Inspector of Schools in England and Wales Amanda Spielman, discussed the driving force behind the proposed Ofsted inspection changes in England and Wales due to come in September 2019. In his latest article Frank Cassidy, former principal ...

Home-schooling in Northern Ireland. Who is in charge?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 15/04/2019 In his latest article Frank Cassidy, former principal of St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena and Regional Officer of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in Northern Ireland, considers arguments for and against home-schooling. A recent Channel 4 Dispatches documentary highlighted t...

Coping Effectively with Autism in Schools

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 11/03/2019 BBC News NI recently reported a large increase in children receiving a diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). In total 2,345 children under 18 were diagnosed as ASD last year, compared with 1,047 five years previously. Dr Alan Stout, the chair of the Northern Ireland GP Committee of the Briti...

Growing Concern for School Principals Subjected to Social Media Abuse

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 15/02/2019 The Belfast Telegraph and BBC have reported on Geri Cameron, principal at Loughshore Education Centre in Newtownabbey and President of NAHT Northern Ireland, telling MPs at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that head teachers were being offered no support in dealing with online abuse. Ms Camer...

Mental Health in Young People: Are Schools Getting the Help They Need?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 21/01/2019 Recent media reports reflect the fact that the mental health of young people is of increasing concern. How are we coping with this rising demand and are we addressing pupil pastoral needs as well as we did before budget cuts changed staffing profiles and timetable priorities? Equally in their effor...

An Education System Under Stress

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 10/12/2018 In the context of Stress Awareness Week November 5th – 9th we need to revisit the situation in our schools with teachers and school leaders under ever increasing stress. In August 2017 I wrote in this column about the escalating problems of low teacher morale as a result of budget cuts, increasing ...

Parents Giving Children a Helping Hand

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 16/11/2018 The closer involvement of parents in their children’s education is now accepted as an important success factor in pupil achievement. As a result we are seeing television advertisements composed by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland promoting greater input from parents. The Department o...

Should Smart Phones be Banned in Schools?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 05/10/2018 Rory Smith, writing for CNN on July 31, 2018 explores the implications of a new law in France which decrees that children aged between three and fifteen will not be able to use their mobile phones during school hours. The ruling affects both students in primary and middle schools and means that the...

School Funding Crisis: Where to Next?

Posted in: Cassidy's Comments on 17/09/2018 As schools return to begin the new school year Head Teachers are undoubtedly focused on how they can continue to deliver the high standard of education that Northern Ireland expects with significantly less money in their budgets. The Belfast Telegraph highlighted the issue on 20th June reporting th...