General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Grammar schools in breakaway plan


Grammar schools in breakaway plan

Forty Ulster grammar schools have said they will break away from the mainstream education
system to set a common entry test to replace the 11-plus.

A survey by the Association for Quality Education (AQE) - a pro-selection organisation - found that 40 schools out of around 70 will devise their own qualification.

This is if new arrangements for academic selection are not put in place, almost immediately, by the Assembly.

The move would effectively save grammar schools.
The plan will be discussed by head teachers, school governors, past pupils and parents, at a meeting of the AQE this evening.
Among those to say "yes" to a common entry test is Belfast Royal Academy.

Principal Billy Young said: "It is not our preferred option but we are ready to go with it. We have already done a lot of preparation. "We have a common entry test prepared and a sub-committee assessing the legality and financial implications.

"We are not waiting around for events. We have to move now." AQE member Sir Ken Bloomfield said: "In the ideal conditions we would still have some form of exit (from
primary school) test. But in the absence of that, and as a last resort, the entry test is now a serious option."

Among the group are Catholic schools he said - indicating support across the
community for academic selection.

The Assembly is currently deadlocked on how to replace the 11-plus, with unionists for the retention of selection and nationalists against.


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