Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Dempsey exam plan a retrograde step

16 July, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Seán Crowe TD, has described Minister Dempsey's attempts to introduce a national exam on primary school students as a "retrograde step" which will lead to the labeling of children as successes or failures at an early age.

Deputy Crowe said, "That the Minister didn't even bother to consult with teachers once again highlights the arrogance of this Government and the manner in which they introduce these half-baked ideas through the media.

"During the short period of time Martin McGuinness spent as Education Minister in the Six Counties he set about abolishing the 11+. His efforts to end this atrocious practice of labeling children as successes or failures at such an early age received broad support across both communities there. That Minister Dempsey is now trying to put in place a similar examination for primary school students is a retrograde step that will do nothing to improve standards and could in fact do untold damage to the confidence and abilities of young people at a very sensitive time in their lives.

"Continuous assessment, encouragement and resources are the ingredients needed to help children through these formative years - not the pressure cooker atmosphere of an exam system." ENDS

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