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Excellent A level results do not disguise tail of underachievement

19 August, 2004

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has welcomed the excellent A level results as testament to the hard work of teaching staff and students but warned against those who would seek to use these results as an argument to retain academic selection at 11.

Mr Hyland said:

"The excellent A level results are testament to the hard work of teaching staff and students.

"However, it should be remembered that many young people do not sit A levels or even GCSEs. There is a very long tail of academic under achievement. Too many young people are branded a failure at 11 and this is wrong. Ending academic selection at 11 is just one of the ways that we can tackle this problem.

"Those who support academic selection will undoubtedly seize on these results are to justify their support for the 11+. But this opportunism will not allow us to address the wider needs of our young people or indeed contribute to the needs of our society as a whole.

"Only last week it was reported that we need 18,000 people going into the construction industry to support the building programme across the Six Counties. It is time that we began to realise that the needs of a modern economy and a society emerging from decades of conflict and disadvantage will not be best served by academic selection." ENDS

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