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Opponents of Educational change are Scare Mongering

5 September, 2007


Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Paul Butler MLA has accused the opponents of the ending of the 11-plus of scare mongering.

Mr Butler said:

"Those who want to retain this discriminatory test have a very narrow and elitist agenda. Sinn Fein wants to see the promotion of academic excellence an end to the 11-plus. The 11-plus has given us nothing but academic discrimination and branded most of our children as failures.

"Some sectors in the pro-grammar school lobby are peddling a lot of myths about the end of academic selection and the 11-plus. The fact is that there is no evidence that ending 11-plus will lead to the destruction of grammar schools. Ken Bloomfield and the Association of Quality Education are involved in a campaign to keep a system of education in place that caters only for the few.

"Sinn Fein wants to see the best opportunities for all of our children in an education system that will cater for all of our children's educational needs. The use of academic selection at the age of 11 through the 11-plus fails 80% of our children annually. It brands the majority of our children as failures and has an adverse impact on many in terms of their sense of worth and esteem.

"Already many grammar schools work beyond the 11-plus and are becoming increasingly all ability and comprehensive in nature as they seek to take pupils of all grades in response to falling rolls.

"What opponents of change are saying is that they what to protect a system that works well for a few but fails the majority. This is not an argument in favour of choice; it is an argument in favour of elitism. We need an education that celebrates and promotes all intelligence and we should prioritise the achievement of all a child's abilities and recognise that exams are only one way to measure intelligence." ENDS

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