As has been mentioned here on Slugger before, Catriona Ruane has probably got the toughest job in the Executive. She has to work out a political deal with political opponents that will also satisfy her own party and the wider base. The trouble is, that whilst she has undoubtedly reaped some capital from her confirmation that the 11+ would be abolished, it seems she may also have put the political cart before the policy horse. As Pete notes below, the Bain report specifically asks for a timetable, before action is taken. Consider Ed Balls proposed legislation to provide education for all up 18. However controversial the legislation, the timelines are clear. No change for 17 years olds until 2013, and none for 18 year olds until 2015. Contrast that with Northern Ireland and the complete non appearance of any timetable at all..Slugger understands it is causing utter chaos in some schools, where parents are questioning a new curriculum that is predicated on non selective education where the majority choice is for selective education. Unwilling to engage in, never mind seek to win, a political fight in Stormont, the Minister may be set (intentionally or not) to engage in political warfare through the body of the schools themselves.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty