‘could define the executive’

Whilst Sinn Féin education spokesman, John O’Dowd, sets out his party’s opposition to the Association for Quality Education plans for post-primary academic selection the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane, has reportedly written to all post-primary grammar schools warning them of the “legal difficulties” involved with such tests – a continuation of what a Belfast Telegraph op-ed has referred to as, “the wrong approach to what could be a laudable objective”. The Minister has resorted to claiming concern about legal matters before.. Meanwhile the new Chairman of the Assembly’s Education Committee, the DUP’s Mervyn Storey, has said the publication of the plan was “proof-positive of the reality that academic selection is here to stay” – that vacuum was always going to be filled. Interesting, given the circumstances, to note the reported comments from the NI First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson

Resolving the problems over education is an issue which could define the executive, First Minister Peter Robinson said. He said everybody needed to get into negotiation mode and get down to the business of getting agreement. Mr Robinson said if they could agree over education it would show they could agree over anything.