Grasping the Nettle

Poorer Protestant boys in Northern Ireland are seriously underachieving at school.

Only Roma and Traveller children are getting poorer results, according to the study by the Community Relations Council.
Here’s what the figures look like compared to England.

FSME = Free School Meal Entitlement i.e. poverty index

Category % with at least five good GCSE grades
Chinese Girls Non-FSME 81.4
NI Catholic Girls – Non FSME 76.7
Chinese 76.4
Chinese Girls – FSME 73.6
Chinese Boys – Non FSME 72.6
NI Protestant Girls – Non FSME 71.8
Asian Girls – Non FSME 70.7
White and Asian 67.9
White Girls – Non FSME 67.3
Irish (in England) 66.9
NI Catholic Boys – Non FSME 64.5
Black Girls – Non FSME 64.2
Asian 62.7
Chinese Boys – FSME 62.4
Any other mixed background 62.3
Northern Ireland-All students 62.0
Asian Boys – Non FSME 61.4
Mixed 59.8
White and Black African 59.6
All students – England 58.8
NI Protestant Boys – Non FSME 58.6
White 58.6
White Boys – Non FSME 57.6
Asian Girls – FSME 55.2
Black 54.6
Black Boys – Non FSME 53.2
Any other white background 52.8
Northern Ireland Ethnic Minority 52.7
White and Black Caribbean 52.5
Black Girls – FSME 50.7
Asian Boys – FSME 48.3
Northern Ireland Catholic Girls-FSME 43.8
Black Boys – FSME 40.3
White Girls – FSME 35.1
NI Catholic Boys – FSME 33.2
NI Protestant Girls- Non FSME 32.4
White Boys 26.9
NI Protestant Boys – FSME 19.7
Traveller of Irish Heritage 16.7
Gypsy / Roma 9.7

Here’s a graph of the information about NI
School-leavers-with-GCSE graph

NB Catholic schools in NI have a higher percentage of pupils on FSME than state schools (33% vs23%); Irish medium schools have the highest at 48% with practically 100% Catholic pupils

We are sorry (but not surprised) to hear the Protestant working class, particularly boys, performs poorly at school

Here’s what local NI politicians have to say

We have already discussed this and analysed the factors.
Our factors were different – worth considering?


We have made suggestions about amalgamating with two educational systems to offer the best option to all
There is nothing more to add until something moves forward


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