Minister must clarify stance on school self-tests

Alliance Education Spokesperson Trevor Lunn has challenged Caitríona Ruane to clarify the actions her Department will take to counter the threat of unregulated entrance tests.

The Lagan Valley MLA stated: “We have no difficulty with change in the education system, but it must take account of the real world. There is a risk that the Minister’s dithering with regard to a new post-primary system is going to result in the worst of every world, with unregulated tests for certain schools.

“The fastest way to counter this would be to put forward proposals capable for generating cross-party support towards a fairer post-primary transfer system. What we do not want is selection by random tests, or by parental ability to pay.

“Already, some schools are proposing their own tests, which will in practice favour pupils from certain primary schools or even certain social classes. That would unquestionably be even worse than the current, flawed system. If the Minister is suggesting this brings with it legal or financial risks, she must outline specifically what these are, and what she proposes to do about them.

“In the Alliance Party, the Minister will find a willing partner for a sensible drive towards reform of the post-primary transfer system. But we cannot support fine words if they are not matched by actual detail. This issue becomes more and more urgent, and requires action immediately so that parents, teachers and pupils have clarity about how they should best plan their educational future.”


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