Monday, 23 March 2009

SDLP seeks to break deadlock

The SDLP is proposing an interim CCEA test and the establishment of a new educator led working group to break the deadlock in the current education crisis. The Party has tabled an amendment to an Alliance Party motion which will be debated in the Assembly on Tuesday.

The amended motion reads:

That this Assembly notes that schools may choose to use an examination as part of their entry criteria under the Minister of Education’s 2010 guidelines; calls on the Minister of Education to ensure the provision of a CCEA test, as she previously proposed, for a maximum period of two years; believes that no school should be allowed to admit its full year 8 pupil quota using the outcomes of that test alone or using any other test; recommends also admission criteria outlined in the Minister’s document transfer 2010 and welcomes the first criterion as a means of ensuring all schools help to tackle social deprivation; and further calls on the Minister of Education to set up a new educator-led working group tasked with building a sustainable consensus on non-selective transfer whose recommendations the Executive and the Assembly would use as the basis for legally binding regulations from 2011 at the latest.

This move will be welcomed by educators and parents who have been placed in an impossible situation since the Minister's unilateral decision to end the 11plus without having any replacement system in place. It will be intersting to see how the other parties react to what appears to be a genuine attempt to show some leadership on this issue.

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