A HIGH-profile education supplement carried in two national newspapers contained a ‘very serious inaccuracy’ about a city’s school’s transfer rate to third level education, causing uproar in the school.
The supplement - 2012 Feeder Schools - carried in the Irish Times and Irish Independent last week, contained information that just 61% of pupils of the class of 2012 in Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh started college in September of this year.
The school has said this is “totally inaccurate and false” and that the figure should in fact be 88%.
Figures from three third level institutions - Mary Immaculate College, Cork Institute of Technology and University College Galway - were not passed on to the newspapers, causing the disparity in figures.
Donncha Ó Treasaigh, principal of Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, contacted this newspaper to correct what he called a “grave error” - while both of the newspapers have carried clarifications in the intervening period.
“They are at fault for publishing the incorrect information without checking it. This is a very serious matter,” said Mr Ó Treasaigh.
This was the first year the school were included in the national league tables, as their current crop of students were the first to sit the Leaving Certificate. The school opened in 2006 in the city.
“The problem was that three third level institutions did not return information about our students,” he explained.
“This is very damaging and we have taken legal advice that says the supplements should be republished in full with the correct information.
“The correct and verified percentage of Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh pupils, who are studying in the range of colleges used in this league table, is 88% - which does not even include pupils who have deferred their 3rd level place until next year, a combined total of 90.3%,” he stressed.
“It has now been established that certain colleges and universities did not extract the data, used in the supplement, by school roll number, and as Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh was a new school to the system in 2012, several students were not included in the analysis.”
The Irish Independent carried a clarification explaining the Feeder Schools supplement included “incomplete information in relation to the progression of pupils from Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh to third level this year”.
MIC’s vice-president Dr Gary O’Brien issued an apology - seen by this newspaper - to the school “for any errors on our part which led to misrepresentation of the data for Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh”.
“The College Management is aware of this issue and, on its behalf, may I assure you that we will do our utmost to help repair any of the reputational damage arising from it,” he explained.