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Transfer 2010 guidance offers a fair system - Ruane

24 March, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has said that if schools follow the Transfer 2010 Guidance, it will deliver an effective and fair system of transfer to post-primary schools.

The Minister was speaking during an Assembly debate on post-primary transfer arrangements. The Minister said: “This motion calls on me to retain a failed system that is not fit for the modern world. Not only was it an outdated system, it was based on academic apartheid and condemned many thousands of children as failures. For that reason there will be no further state sponsored testing at age 11.

“We need an education system that is child centred and allows each to develop their individual strengths and talents. For too long children from working class areas have been disadvantaged by the system of academic selection and rejection. Maintaining the status quo is not an option.

“Schools are recommended not to set breakaway entrance tests because these will perpetuate the inequality of academic selection and risk challenge from parents.

“The motion calls on me to re-commission the CCEA test and allow its use for two years, yet ignores my compromise proposals offering the use of this test during a three year transition period. I wanted my proposals to have a firm legislative basis, but in the absence of political agreement I have withdrawn them and issued guidance to schools for Transfer 2010. This guidance recommends the use of admissions criteria that is already widely understood and used. It also ensures children from disadvantaged communities have the opportunity to access schools previously closed to them.

“A new working group has been proposed to make recommendations on transfer, but in recent years we have had the Burns, Gallagher and Costello reports setting out options on the way ahead. We do not need another working group. We need to make progress on overhauling a system that discriminates against young children and tells many they are not good enough to go to a particular school.

“The guidance has been issued for public consultation and I have written to all parents of Primary Six children to explain how it will work from next September. If schools embrace and implement the guidance, we finally have the opportunity to deliver a system of post-primary transfer that helps to support the much needed reform programme I am implementing to tackle underachievement and put equality at the very heart of education.”

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