Education, education, education..

The Hearts and Minds discussion on post-primary education wasn’t as confrontational as the Assembly Committee meeting with the minister last week, but then the minister wasn’t there. Neither was the Sinn Féin spokesman on Education, Paul Butler. Interestingly instead of the other SF member on the Education Committee, Michelle O’Neill, the party’s chosen designated hitter for the programme was John O’Dowd, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee – and he conceded that individual schools would be able to set their own academic selection exam, a year after that was made clear. Also on the panel were the DUP’s Mervyn Storey and the SDLP’s Dominic Bradley. It’s worth noting, in particular, that during the discussion area based planning was highlighted as “the lynch-pin” of any proposals for the future.