Are Ruane’s guidelines for school admissions sectarian…?

EDUCATION Minister Caitriona Ruane has argued that schools which retain academic selection will inevitably discriminate against some children. But her own guidelines – which put eligibility for free school meals as top priority in allocating places – are also discriminatory. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong or necessarily illegal about discrimination – only unfair discrimination is wrong, and the PSNI 50-50 recruitment criteria survived legal challenge – but the education committee is to seek legal advice on whether the guidelines unfairly discriminate against Protestants, who are half as likely as Catholics to take free school meals. It comes after an equality impact assessment on Ruane’s guidelines was sneaked out without public fanfare on Good Friday. So after inadvertantly leading us into a situation where there will be Catholic and Protestant admissions tests, are Ruane’s guidelines for school admissions also sectarian, as Basil McCrea believes?

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