General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Quality and Choice are the Key to Success



Ensuring pupils have access to a wide range of courses that are relevant to them is vital to reforming our education system.

That was the message from the Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, as she discussed the Entitlement Framework with around 200 Principals at a conference in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick.

Speaking to the Principals, the Minister said: “The policy of the Department of Education is for a non-selective system that is not going to change. The new transfer procedures are in place and they will remain in place. Grammar schools should stop testing 10 and 11 year old children now. We have moved on and will continue to move forward. It is the important prerequisite for the range of other programmes.

“I firmly believe that we can best serve the needs of young people by ensuring that, when they reach the critical age of 14, they have equal access to a much wider, more balanced and coherent curricular offer. The offer should include both general and applied courses and provide them with a wider range of choice to interest and excite them. I want schools to be gateways to quality, choice and equality and not destinations where choice is poor or restricted.

“The pace of implementation must increase significantly if the 2013 delivery of the Entitlement Framework is to be a reality. We are now moving firmly from the first phase of preparation and awareness raising into the second phase of the journey towards full implementation of the Entitlement Framework.

“From this year, to 2013, I expect to see solid sustained progress made towards the full implementation of the Entitlement Framework. Today, I am setting out to you again, as the leaders in all post-primary schools that I want to see a change in pace, a stepping up of efforts. I will require schools to demonstrate how they will effectively deliver the Entitlement Framework and seek to maximise choice for children in the future. I want to see the plans at individual school level of how this will be achieved, and I want to be sure that these plans are robust and deliverable.”

The Minister continued: “More than anything, this is about ensuring that the range of courses offered by each school is capable of supporting all young people to achieve to their full potential and to go on to access further or higher education and fulfilling jobs. And it is about ensuring that the needs of all children are met equally.

“As school leaders, you and your Board of Governors are instrumental in the delivery of Entitlement Framework by demonstrating, in the interest of your pupils, visionary leadership at school level and within your local area. I thank you for all the work you have done to date and look forward to progressing the Entitlement Framework so that it benefits every child in the north of Ireland.”


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