Unionists must not be allowed to carry education back to the dark ages: Bell

Commenting on the UUP’s intention to debate the 11+ and other Educational matters at Westminster next week, Eileen Bell, Alliance Deputy Leader and member of the Assembly Education Committee, said that she was concerned that the UUP were attempting to bring back the widely discredited 11+ to Northern Ireland.

“While the outgoing Education Minister, Martin McGuinness, was totally irresponsible in starting the removal of the 11+ without first introducing an alternative form of transfer procedure, that does NOT justify trying to reinstate the status quo.

“The current NIO Education Minister, Jane Kennedy, was quite right in reminding Roy Beggs MP that the province suffers from a sizeable number of pupils leaving school with few or no qualifications at all, and these children must be catered for every bit as much as the high number leaving with excellent results!

“It would be unfortunate if the Unionists were to use the suspension of the Assembly as a means to try, once again, to reinforce the 11+, a move which can only be justified by a total concentration on its benefits for those pupils on the grammar school track!”

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