General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Meeting follows selection plans


22/10/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: BBC News

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane is to meet with Catholic grammar school principals to discuss their plans to keep academic selection.

On Tuesday, the Catholic Heads Association said they wanted to select future pupils using a test.

The association said schools had been given "limited leadership" on the issue by the Department of Education.

Ms Ruane said academic selection was wrong and that she was "determined to continue to pursue a course to end it".

Last December the minister announced that the test, commonly known as the 11-plus, would come to an end in 2008.

Sarah Kelly principal of Thornhill College in Londonderry, said the associations plan would ensure a regulated system is put in place.

"We are horrendously upset at not having criteria in place," she said.

"We see a huge chaotic system opening up in front of us of appeals and parents distraught and upset. This chaotic situation will give rise to more of that."

However, the minister said she remained committed to phasing out academic selection over the next three years.

"What I would say to them is consider very carefully your action because we have to build a system fit for the 21st century," she said.

"I'm opposed to academic selection, but in order to provide some breathing space, I did bring forward proposals for a three year diminishing academic selection plan."

The meeting between the minister and the Catholic Heads Association will take place on Wednesday.



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