Response to Transfer Proposals
After several months of highly publicised discussions between political parties no firm proposals have been offered by those involved. They entered these discussions on the promise that they would sort out selection, however all they have managed to offer the public is a list of maybes and what if’s.
Speaking today Mr O’Dowd said:
“Sinn Féin stated clearly at the start of these discussions that the agenda was to re-establish state sponsored 11 plus examinations. This is the only definitive proposal that this group has managed to agree on and bring forward. The rest is a list of contradictions and fudges.
“These include the erroneous claim to act on behalf of the needs of the primary sector, the vast majority of whom are delighted to have testing removed from their curriculum.
“Proposals also include adhering to international best practice, a major contradiction, as this has actually seen the abandoning of academic selection.
“There is no ‘necessity’ for the reintroduction of a test which the SDLP have described as being socially unjust and educationally unsound and yet they now wish to bring back this very test.
“These discussions were never about education otherwise they would have taken place in the Education Committee. They were about meeting the needs of those Grammar schools who wish to hold onto their elitist position. The AQE agenda of exclusion rather than inclusion is the real agenda at play.
“Transfer 2010 is in place and it is being successfully implemented by the vast majority of post primary schools. The variety of grades being accepted by the majority of Grammar schools clearly shows all ability education is not only possible but operating in the Grammar sector already.
“Those involved in the discussions, who claim to be opposed to academic selection, failed to recognise the reality that even within the Grammar sector there are those forward thinking, socially conscious educationalists, who are planning to move away from the process of academic selection.
“Education has moved on, it’s time for these parties to catch up.
“Sinn Féin will continue to build an education system which is socially just, educationally sound placing academic and vocational excellence together at its heart. We will work to build a system which meets the needs of primary schools as educators in their own right, not as exam centres for grammar schools. We will also support our post-primary school sector as they too deserve the attention and gratitude of politicians, the media and society.” CRÍOCH