General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Education Minister meets with principals to discuss post primary education


NI Executive

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has met around 200 post-primary principals to discuss the future of post-primary education. The Minister thanked the principals for their work and commitment to education and welcomed the opportunity to discuss the strategic challenges facing education.

 The Minister said: “I will soon publish the Department of Education’s Guidance for Transfer 2011 and onward. This means I am restating my Department’s and my position on transfer arrangements. The 11 plus is now gone and will not be replaced by any testing as part of our transfer procedures. Our policy is for a non-selective system based around the Revised Curriculum and the Entitlement Framework.”

During the meeting a presentation was given on Development Proposals. The principals were advised that the Department would soon issue guidance on their role in facilitating change in education, including abandoning academic selection.

The Minister said: “Development Proposals are not an obstacle to change and can be the way to secure effective and lasting change. Their purpose is to ensure that all interested parties are informed about proposed significant changes to a school or schools. They facilitate consultation with key stakeholders and are not an impediment. We are currently reviewing the Department’s 2003 guidance on Development Proposals to ensure references under significant change are relevant in the current policy context.”

The Minister emphasised that she wanted to look forward. She spoke of the momentum for change in education and the prospect of an area being served by a range of diverse schools, complementing each other in their delivery of the Entitlement Framework. The Minister said: “I have five key priorities and my department is focused on all of them. These are: Raising Standards for all; Improving access and equality; developing the workforce; Improving the learning environment and Transferring management and governance. We are living in an era of constrained financial resources but I will continue to argue for more funds to continue to build new schools.”

The Minister concluded: “I want all schools of whatever management type to help shape a different future, where children transfer at 11 without the trauma of testing. Excellent academic provision must and should flourish in all schools. By working together we can achieve that.”

She invited all post-primary schools to consider a future of non-selective schools delivering excellent provision and high standards in academic and vocational education. 


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