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Minister drops marks in 11-plus reform test

05-12-2007

05/12/2007 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

The latest plans to reform the transfer process faced opposition from unionists and grammar supporters last night, while schools awaited more details of the way ahead.

Education minister Caitriona Ruane has announced the final 11-plus test should take place next year, with pupils themselves then making key decisions about post-primary paths at the age of 14.

However, there was criticism in the assembly of a lack of detail in the plan, as well as threats from grammar heads and unionist parties to block an end to academic selection.

The changes would represent a move towards the system in the Craigavon area, except that no schools would be allowed to select pupils on the basis of ability.

Ms Ruane said groups of experts should instead decide what type of schools are needed in different areas, which could involve different types of 11-19 schools or 'junior highs' from 11-14 followed by specialist post-14 colleges.

However, it was unclear exactly when such arrangements would be in place and how oversubscribed schools would decide who to admit.

Ms Ruane's announcement is the latest in a series of plans to end academic selection, including the British government-commissioned Burns and Costello reports.

 

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