Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Association for Quality Education plans offer nothing but confusion

18 June, 2008


Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has dismissed the Association for Quality Education plans for their own version of the 11+ test as more about maintaining the status of their own schools than responding to the need for change across the entire education system.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The reality is that we have a clear set of proposals from the Minister of Education that allow for a 3-year transitional period for the phased ending of academic selection. This will lay the foundations for the beginnings of at 21st century education system that will allow greater choices for our young people and develop new ways for our schools to work together.

"The proposals from this group of 30 schools represent only a very small but vocal sector. Of the 228 post-primary schools 198 are not aligned to AQE.

"What the AQE are proposing will offer nothing to those who face educational disadvantage. It is not sustainable to cling to an outdated system that fails the vast majority of our children and fails to equip them with the skills they need. I believe the majority of teachers, parents and children do not want a system that will label any child a failure at 11.

"This unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable group should not be allowed to interfere with the teaching of the new curriculum in our primary schools in pursuit of their own elitist agenda. It must also be pointed out the AQE are dictating how tax payers money should be spent without any accountability to the taxpayer.

"It has already been pointed out the AQE's flawed approach will create huge legal and administrative difficulties tying educationalists up in legal cases rather than in frontline education where they are needed." ENDS

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