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McGuinness says 11-plus deadlock can be broken


19/05/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

The deadlock over reform of the 11-plus transfer system can be broken, the deputy first minister has said.

Martin McGuinness said the DUP and Sinn Fein had surmounted other challenges in the past and their experienced negotiators were capable of finding a compromise.

"There's going to have to be some lateral thinking applied to all of this. There's going to have to be some considerable brainstorming," he told the BBC.

"And I believe that we are capable if there's a will to deal with this issue, we are capable of engaging in a real debate, discussion, dialogue and indeed negotiation to take this forward."

Caitriona Ruane last week said she planned to phase out academic selection over three years, using a temporary new test after the 11-plus is scrapped this autumn.

Schools would then admit pupils using only non-academic criteria.

However, a contentious meeting of the executive on Thursday saw three separate proposals for progress rejected.

Unionists support the retention of academic selection and First Minister Ian Paisley said Ms Ruane's plans could not go ahead without DUP and overall executive support.

Despite the impasse the Department of Education is drafting a leaflet explaining the minister's future vision for education to be sent to every household in the north.



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