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Ruane refuses to answer transfer plan questions


16/01/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

Caitriona Ruane refused to answer questions about her plans to shake up the school transfer system because she is still finalising details, her department said last night.

Ms Ruane, has said the 11-plus will end next year, with pupils themselves to make important choices about post-primary paths at the age of 14.

The Stormont education committee had sought more detail on the minister's plans but were told it was "not possible" for her to reply to 29 detailed questions.

She was asked about area-based planning, grammar schools, restructuring the schools estate and admissions at age 14.

The committee, however, was told that the minister was not yet in a position to respond.

Committee chairman Sammy Wilson accused Ms Ruane of being "secretive" adding he was shocked that she refused to answer.

The Department of Education last night said the development of new arrangements for transfer to post primary schools from 2010 was a "key priority" for the minister.

"In December the minister set out her vision for the new arrangements. This was an overall framework where the detail would be developed following consultation with the education sector," a spokesman said.

"The minister clearly stated that there could not be a one size fits all solution, and local planning groups would help decide the necessary educational provision for their area.

"Over recent weeks the minister has met with key stakeholders including the education spokespersons for the main political parties.

"This process of engagement is continuing and when completed the minister will issue more detail on her proposals. The minister is also awaiting a written submission from the education committee."



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