30 August 2013

The Detail on Schools

The Detail is a news website for Northern Ireland. Its staff do not just write traditional journalism. They also run a kind of story that may well become more common as we entre the era of 'big data'. They make news by analysing and collating statistical information. Recently The Detail has looked at rates of repossession, studied cancer prevalence by postcode and compared emergency service response times across Northern Ireland. Often The Detail displays its findings using online maps. This is the case with the report, "How our school leavers fare - by school and by postcode". Below I have posted the two screenshots that cover Limavady.

On this map every secondary school in Northern Ireland is described by a selection of stats. These include the percentage of students who are entitled to school meals (a rough indicator of economic well-being) and the percentage who go onto further education.

We have come to expect a religious divide in Northern Ireland's education system. Towns often have a Catholic School and a Protestant one. Sure enough, many of Northern Ireland's small-to-medium sized towns have two secondary schools. However, zoom it and a different divide is revealed. Class or relative wealth seems just as important a story. Schools with high rates of free school meals send low numbers of students to university. Use their map to roam town to town and this correlation holds true, regardless of the school's place on the religious spectrum.