Thursday, 13 October 2011

Education Minister John O'Dowd's Twitter Q&A - Transcript of questions and answers

Education Minister John O'Dowd has taken part in the Northern Ireland Executive's first live Twitter Q&A.
Minister O'Dowd answered 26 questions over an hour on a range of topics. The full transcript of the Q&A is available below.
Q&A Transcript
From @niexecutive - Education Minister John O'Dowd up next to answer questions. Just arriving from a visit to Wellington College, Belfast #AskDE
Question 1 - from @ColininNI  
#askDE to what extent will the review announced recently include the efficiency of maintaining 5 ELBs?
Answer - @ColininNI Viability audit does not include Boards. I aim to replace Boards and other bodies with single Education & Skills Authority #AskDE
Question 2 - from @boo50hoo
@niexecutive #AskDE Why did Mr O'Dowd not brief the Education Boards before his speech two weeks ago. The SELB is not following his criteria
Answer - @boo50hoo All ELBs were briefed on day of speech. Terms of ref for audit will be on DE website soon #AskDE
Question 3 – from @nbonnes
#AskDE In the minister's opinion what would be the ideal model for the Randalstown/Ballymena post-primary provision?
Answer - @nbonnes the area planning process will identify proposals for all areas including Randalstown. I await proposals from ELBs #AskDE
Question 4 – from @collapsibubble
Will you consider removing compulsory xian religious participation from schools? Schools should educate and churches preach. #AskDE
Answer - @collapsibubble Schools deliver core RE topics, add to them as per ethos. Parents can withdraw children from RE classes if they wish #AskDE
Question 5 – from @Kilsally
#AskDE Does the minister foresee a move to a single education system for all to foster reconciliation and to save money? @1schoolthought
Answer - @Kilsally Better planning and greater sharing will promote reconciliation and efficiency #AskDE
Question 6 - from @Gary_NI
@niexecutive my mum is a substitute teacher with 25yrs experience in full time teaching. Is she now considered past her use by date? #AskDE
Answer - @Gary_NI Most certainly not, we value all our teaching staff #AskDE
Question 7 – from @MrMalcontent
@JohnODowdSF so, did you have a look at how some teachers are willing to do their own CPD in NI? #tmbelfast #askDE
Answer- @MrMalcontent CPD, and teacher education in general, is currently under review - see link #AskDE
Question 8 - from @derd28
@JohnODowdSF #AskDE when are you going to sort this transfer test mess out? Despicable the level of stress put on children. Action needed!
Answer - @derd28 Transfer policy requires no tests. Many good schools do not use academic selection #AskDE
Question 9 - from @Wiseabap
Time to end schools inherent homophobia and their exemption from equality duties Minister O'Dowd #askDE @niexecutive
Answer - @Wiseabap Homophobia is unacceptable. See this link to see how we are tackling it #AskDE
Question 10 - from @bradleyea
 #askDE what will you do to support & expand integrated sector? Not mow a regional option for many who would like to choose it.
Answer - @bradleyea I support parental choice in selection of schools for children, recognise value of Int sector along with all sectors #AskDE
Question 11 - from @rickyp119
Protestant schls don't teach GAA. Catholic schls dont teach cricket. Do U think more could be done to increase cultural...
Answer - @rickyp119 I don’t want to name names, schools decide. I accept your point but schools have flexibility and I want to preserve that #AskDE
Question 12 - from @rickyp119
Do you think GCSEs have now been devalued to the point of being meaningless? #askde
Answer - @rickyp119 Most definitely not #AskDE
Question 13 - from @jasonfisher6
 #ASKDE Minister prove that this audit is not a numbers game and you're not targeting the most vulnerable with most to lose
Answer - @Jasonfisher6 the criteria were laid out in my speech. Terms of ref public soon #AskDE
Question 14 - from @jasonfisher6
#ASKDE @niexecutive why are you allowing the SEELB to prevent Ballykeigle primary school from getting a new principal?
Answer - @Jasonfisher6 Appointment of principal is a matter for the SEELB. Principal is in place in Ballykeigle PS on a shared arrangement #AskDE
Question 15 - from @kiplisburn
#AskDE @JohnOdowdSF how does the minister plan to solve the problem of lack of jobs for NQTs?
Answer - @kiplisburn Assembly recently endorsed motion on difficulties faced by newly qualified teachers in gaining employment. Details here on niassembly website
Question 16 - from @kiplisburn
#AskDE what can be done to solve the problem of nursery place shortages? Many parents offered places far from home.
Answer - @kiplisburn I am currently studying the findings of a review #AskDE
Question 17 - from @kiplisburn
#AskDE Will politicians come to an agreement on the way forward with regards to post primary transfer? What is the next step?
Answer - @kiplisburn I am seeking political agreement on the way forward #AskDE
Question 18 - from @redriding
 Could I please #askDE the minister if he is aware of the proposals currently in process with a view to the closure of...
Answer - @redriding this issue would be better dealt with by letter as you have raised several concerns. DM me your details #AskDE
Question 19 - from @nocuts2011
#askDE. What has happened to the £250 that workers who earn under £21000pa were supposed to get?
Answer - @nocuts2011 we are working with DFP to resolve this #AskDE
Question 20 - from @helenhamill
school inspections are announced? they don't reflect reality of day to day provision. drop-in effective measure. tool? #askDE
Answer - @helenhamill All inspection matters are kept under review. The day to day work of a school is monitored via District Inspector visits #AskDE
Question 21 - from @kylep77
 #askDE @niexecutive In cases of school closures, will Mr O’Dowd be able to reallocate those teachers who are left jobless?
Answer - @kylep77 I am engaging with stakeholders to help address challenges #AskDE
Question 22 - from @ransom_stoddard
 Why is more money spent on maintaining grammar school standards rather than improving standards at the lower end #askDE
Answer - @ranson_stoddard Grammars not funded more than other schools. Schools with greater challenges given additional support #AskDE
Question 23 – from @davidwkerr
Does the Minister think post-primary education should allow children to pursue vocational subjects from 14yrs rather than academic? #AskDE
Answer - @davidwkerr The Entitlement Framework allows children to choose #AskDE
Question 24 - from @helenhamill
INSET is very costly and schools have use SEN budget to provide assistants. So teachers may have no INSET. Enforceable #askDE
Answer - @helenhamill New SEN resource file free to every school in Learning NI. Detailed info on teaching SEN based on outstanding practice #AskDE
Question 25 - from @davidwkerr
Education systems in other EU countries is there one system the Minister admires more than any other & we cld learn from? #AskDE
Answer - @davidwkerr I wish to create a system other EU states admire #AskDE
Question 26 - from @jsni
 With your background as a culinary expert - What 3 people would you have to your dinner party? #AskDe
Answer - @jsni I would like to invite Muhammad Ali, Billy Connolly and Michael Palin #AskDE
From @niexecutive - That’s it for John O’Dowd’s live Q&A. We hope you found it useful and engaging. Thanks for all the Qs, sorry if yours wasn’t answered. #AskDE

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Twitter Q&A - Submit your question directly to the Education Minister

Education Minister John O’Dowd will be live on Twitter at 3pm on Thursday 13 October answering your questions.

You can submit your question now via the hashtag #AskDE. The deadline for submitting questions is 2pm Thursday 13.

The Minister will respond to as many education-related questions as time permits via the @niexecutive Twitter feed.

If you are not able to be online at 3pm on Thursday to see the responses live, don’t worry. All responses will remain on the @niexecutive timeline and under the hashtag #AskDE.

So if you have a question for the Minister, please do submit it via #AskDE and the Minister will do his best to respond.

How the Twitter Q&A will work...

Minister O'Dowd will retweet the question he plans to answer and then tweet his response and so on.

The complete transcript of questions and the Minister's responses will be posted here.