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Robinson challenged on 11 plus policy U-turn

19 November, 2010 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane has challenged the DUP leader Peter Robinson to ‘come clean’ on his views on academic selection.

Ms Ruane said:

“For the past number of years the DUP has set out to try and frustrate change and block progress in education. They have defended a system which fails thousands of children every year, particularly those in working class unionist areas.

“Mr Robinson along with Sammy Wilson, Mervyn Storey has been pedalling the line that support for academic selection at 11 is a sacred cow in DUP policy. This is a lie. In the 1989 DUP Election Manifesto, which is believed to have been largely written by Mr Robinson, and under which Mr Wilson stood as a candidate, it states clearly that:

“We believe that selection at 11 should be ended. The 11 plus procedure is educationally unsound and socially divisive and places unnecessary strainupon children at a very early age.”

“So the 11 plus was educationally unsound and socially divisive in 1989 when the DUP had no power to do anything about it, but when actually in a position to implement change the DUP performed a massive policy U-turn.

“So the question for Mr Robinson is clear. He stood on a platform of abolishing the 11 plus on the grounds that it is educationally unsound yet since his elevation to office has sought to protect and defend a system which by his own admission is deeply flawed. Surely the time has now come for Mr. Robinson to stop playing to the gallery and come clean to the electorate on where he actually stands on academic selection at 11.” ENDS

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