Academic selection: a system of failure…

As education minister Peter Weir bumbled his way through a ministerial statement on Wednesday afternoon one would be forgiven for confusing the ad hoc COVID 19 response committee with a debate on academic selection. The long-running debate has reared its head again as AQE subscribing grammar schools finally took the decision to delay testing in the face of a 1.8 reproductive rate in the virus here. Whatever your view on academic selection, it smacked of rank arrogance for these 32 …

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The Transfer Test: It’s time for an education rethink

On the 25th January my Twitter and Facebook timeline was full of worried, stressed parents. All of them were anxiously waiting for AQE/PPTC results, due on the 26th. The emotions on display ranged from hope to dread. I sat the 11+ when I was in school. P.7s these days have to sit three, sometimes four, one-hour exams over the course of multiple weekends if they want to get into a grammar school.  Thankfully there are plans for pupils to sit …

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A deferred educational revolution prefered to evolution…

Ah, the forces of conservatism are everywhere! It has been revealed by the biggest show in the country that no fewer than eleven primary schools have received warnings for tutoring their pupils for the proliferant 11+ exams… Maggie Taggart in yesterday’s Newsline interviewed the head of one Primary school head who explained that the schools are simply responding to parent pressure and claims that if they don’t provide these sessions in some case parents will take their kids out and …

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Record numbers take entrance exams to Catholic Grammar schools…

Simon Doyle in the Irish News today notes two interesting facts regarding selective education in Northern Ireland. One is that five years after a state run and funded 11+ the number of entrants is rising annually; by ten per cent since they were first introduced. And the other is a recognition by the current Education Minister, John O’Dowd, that he does not have “the power to bring it to an end..” He called instead for more lobbying, “those opposed must …

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