The failure of many young Protestants to succeed in school is a serious source of Northern Ireland’s problems.
That is one of the stark conclusions from a report by the Community Relations Council, which yesterday offered its latest assessment of how post-peace process Northern Ireland is faring.
Among its findings are that “Protestant boys with free school meal entitlement achieve less than any of the other main social groups in Northern Ireland”, and are also among the worst compared with England too.
The measure is based on the numbers of pupils coming out with five good GCSEs.
By contrast, Northern Irish Catholic girls are among the best-performing pupils.
The report says this under-performance of Protestant males is a “seedbed of trouble,” noting that the 16-to-24-year-old Protestants are more likely than their Catholic counterparts to be unemployed too.
It added that “young Protestant males were much in evidence in the hyper-masculine confrontations with police during the year, and the subsequent court cases”.
Three years ago Mark Langhammer, the Director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Northern Ireland, told the News Letter working-class Protestants had been left stranded when it came to education. Read those views here.