Report will identify with pro-selection view of Parties
Sinn Féin MLA and education spokesperson John O’Dowd has stated that today’s report presented to the four political parties who established their own group on academic selection will contain few surprises given that this group were given their terms of reference by parties all in favour of a return to state sponsored testing.
Speaking today Mr O’Dowd said:
“Sinn Féin stated clearly at the start of these discussions that the agenda by the parties involved was to re-establish state sponsored 11 plus examinations. Clearly it will be no surprise if the report presented today endorses this position further.
“The group of educationalist who were selected and given their terms of reference by four political parties who have already stated together that they want a return to state sponsored testing so why would this report say anything different?
“This issue is not about the betterment of education. This is about meeting the needs of the Grammar sector who are running their own test that essentially continue the outdated and elitist position that we had before with the 11+ that casts children as not being worthy of a place at certain schools.
“If it were about improving education why do these parties not bring openly their concerns to the Assemblies education committee on which they all sit?
“By their participation in this group, parties that claimed to be against academic selection at 11 such as the SDLP and Alliance are now endorsing this practice.
“Those involved in these backroom discussions fail to recognise the reality that even within the Grammar sector there are those forward thinking, socially conscious educationalists, including decisions by the Catholic sector, who are planning to move away from the process of academic selection.”
“Sinn Féin will continue to build an education system which meets the needs of primary schools as educators in their own right, not as exam centres for grammar schools. An education system that is not predicated of political point scoring but placing the needs of children first.”