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Do the UUP agree with their political master David Cameron on ' No Return to the 11' +

26 June, 2009 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has called on Basil McCrea the UUP education spokesman to state whether or not his party agrees with the Conservative party leader on the issue of the 11+. The call comes following the Conservative party leader David Cameron and  education secretary David Willets  stating that “there will be no return to a selective system or the 11-plus.”

Speaking today Mr O’Dowd said:

“Over the past years we have had the UUP constantly challenge the Education Minster on the retention of the 11+. This is despite the test failing thousands of children across the north each year especially in unionist areas such as the Shankill Road and Sandy Row areas of Belfast.  

“We see ever greater links between the UUP and Conservative party yet on this issue there is clearly a large gap. The Conservative party, who are the senior party in this alliance, state they are clearly against the return of the 11+ in Britain while the UUP cling to this outdated and discriminatory mode of academic selection.

“The leader of the Conservatives  David Cameron and their education secretary, David Willetts,  this weekend stated that “there will be no return to a selective system or the 11-plus.”. Obviously people would assume that the UUP would have a similar line of thinking

“Instead the UUP spokesperson on education,  Basil McCrea, gets on his feet week in and week out to tell us that we should maintain the inequalities that the 11+ and academic selection bring about. What we need here is clarity and the UUP need to state are they with their Conservative partners on educational policy or not.”

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