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Academic selection groups 'living in the past'‏

21 November, 2011

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Daithí McKay has said that those that wish to continue the use of academic testing on children at the age of 11 are ‘living in the past’ and have a very simplified view of education that encourages social division.

Mr McKay was speaking after it was announced that the two bodies that hold unofficial transfer tests are to try and establish a single exam.

“At a time when some post-primary schools are phasing out academic selection and other Grammars are increasingly co-operating with non-Grammar schools to deliver the curriculum it is quite clear that the social division of children by testing belongs in the past in an outdated education system.

“Statistics clearly show that children who live in more deprived communities in the north are less likely to attend Grammar schools, that is not because they have any less academic ability than children from a more affluent area but this does demonstrate that schools involved in these tests are involved in social division not academic division. Children are complex, intelligent individuals that cannot be put into academic or vocational boxes at the age of 11, indeed they should have increased choice in post primary education of all subjects.

“The rest of the Education system is moving on with the development of a 21st century education system that is inclusive – not exclusive and the small number of schools involved in this anarchic practice should move into the modern era as well.”

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