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McGuinness - 11 plus will not return

14 October, 2006

Former Education Minister and Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness today said that people should not become confused by the spin coming out of St Andrews on the issue of academic selection, that the 11 plus would be abolished and would not be coming back.

Mr McGuinness said:

“As Education Minister I abolished the 11 plus. It was abolished because it gave rise to a system which enhanced educational inequality and disadvantage. Let me be clear today, the 11 plus will be abolished and will not be coming back. Spin to the contrary from the DUP in the wake of St. Andrews about this issue does not alter this reality.

“If we have a fully functioning Assembly up and running this would of course be an issue to discuss and debate and that is right and proper. It is also right and proper that Ministers retain Executive authority and Ministerial power.

“However many people find the DUP support for the 11 plus ironic given the fact that the system of academic selection at 11 impacts most within unionist working class areas like the Shankill where only 1% of the population move onto grammar schools the rest branded as failures.

“Sinn Féin will continue to engage in the debate on the future direction of education here with the clear objective of delivering a fair and effective system which delivers for all of our children not just the few.” ENDS

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