28/02/2017

Proposals Announced For Single Transfer Test

Two groups which run separate school transfer tests in Northern Ireland would like to produce one common test.

The Association of Quality Education (AQE) and the Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC) said the move would be in the best interest of pupils, parents and schools.

However, Sinn Fein party spokesperson for Education, Barry McElduff, opposed the academic selection and said it would have a "hugely negative impact on children". 

He said: "Many educationalists, parents, teaching unions, and both children's and human rights organisations also oppose academic selection. 

"The Human Rights Commission in the North has called for the abolition of academic selection as it is socially divisive and not in the educational interests of children or young people.

"Sinn Féin believes that education should be about nurturing the individual talents of the child or young person.

"The huge improvements in educational attainment under successive Sinn Féin education ministers demonstrates clearly that academic selection is wrong and unnecessary."
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Meanwhile, DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone candidate Maurice Morrow welcomed the proposals.

He said: "As a Party, the DUP has worked tirelessly to secure and protect academic selection. The DUP have actively engaged with both groups to support their work. During any future negotiations, we will stand firm on this issue. We believe selection allows every child, regardless of their background, postcode or religion, the opportunity to succeed.

"Even in the face of huge political opposition, both assessment providers have stood firm, ensuring every child is afforded the opportunity to enter a Grammar school. I commend them for their efforts and implore them to work together towards one common entrance assessment. The DUP believe it is important that we bolster and protect selection. It is obvious that even with political interference, more parents are choosing to enter their children for the transfer tests. The DUP will continue to support and work with both sides."

The organisations are aiming to have the new common test in place by next year.

(CD)

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