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No cash for Ruane to send letters on 11-plus


25/06/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

Caitriona Ruane has been denied money to send a letter to parents about her vision for a post-primary system without the 11-plus.

The education minister promised the communication in February, with her department later saying she would provide information to parents "at an appropriate time".

The system to replace the doomed 11-plus is to involve a new transfer test, but for three years only, Ms Ruane has said.

After that it is planned that selection by ability would be forbidden. Pupils would instead be selected on non-academic criteria including family members at schools and geographical proximity.

However, finance minister Nigel Dodds has refused funding for the explanatory leaflet, saying Ms Ruane appeared to want to use public funds despite having so far failed to secure political support for her plans.

In a memo, Mr Dodds urged Ms Ruane to secure agreement in the executive on post-primary transfer rather than pursuing her own proposal.

If such agreement was forthcoming, he said, his department could support the use of public funds to send an information leaflet.

Ms Ruane last night said: "I am pressing ahead with my proposals.... People will try to interfere but I am not going to let that happen."



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