Alliance MLA Andrew Muir is to push the Education Minister to outline contingency plans for post-primary transfer tests, scheduled to take place before Christmas this year.
Set to seek clarity at the Assembly today, Mr Muir said that despite calls from within the Minister’s own party for a final date for removal of all restrictions, the number of current Covid cases within the community signals a difficult winter ahead for pupils.
He added: “Last year we witnessed the torment inflicted on children when the unknown around transfer tests engulfed the winter period – even going as far as to ruin Christmas for many as hours of preparation of preparation suddenly got cast aside in a last ditch move to cancel the tests.
“We have to have learnt lessons. Rather than blindly moving forward with a head in the sand approach, we need to be open and honest about what a contingency option could look like.
“Pupils, teachers and parents deserve to know what the next few months could look like, to know they are supported and that the Minister has a full plan in place to navigate these challenging times.
“This might be difficult for a DUP Minister to comprehend, as it seemed to have similarly tasked her predecessor last year. This debate should focus on nothing other than what is best for children, how another winter in and out of school due to the unknown of Covid will damage their learning and impact their mental health and how we have the power to make a difference.”