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Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 16:49 GMT
Mother loses 11-plus dyslexia appeal
Transfer test results have been released
Dyslexic pupils sitting other exams get extra time, parents argued
A mother has lost a legal fight to allow dyslexic children in Northern Ireland extra time to sit the 11-plus examination.

The woman had taken the court case last year, even though it was too late to affect her son, who sat the secondary school entrance exam in November 2000.

Education Minister Martin McGuinness turned down a request that her son be given at least 25% extra time like dyslexic students sitting GCSE and A-Level exams.

The 11-plus is still used as a selection test in Northern Ireland and has been the subject of controversy in recent years.

Education minister Martin McGuinness
Sinn Fein Minister Martin McGuinness: refused boy extra time for test

Many educationalists have argued that it is an unfair way to judge children's' school performance and can make children who do not pass feel branded as failures from an early age.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Coghlin dismissed the Londonderry mother's action in the High Court but said he understood her concerns.

He said he hoped her son did well in the test, the results of which are due in February.

Limited places

But the judge said the eleven plus was a completely different situation to exams like A-levels because it was a direct competition with other pupils for a limited number of places.

The boy's mother has said she was "very disappointed and gutted" by the decision. Her solicitor has said they will study the judgement before making any decision about an appeal.

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See also:

11 Oct 00 | Northern Ireland
Dyslexia appeal on 11-plus
28 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Criticism of 11-plus selection test
28 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
NI education debate begins
05 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
Red letter day for pupils
18 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
Vice-chancellor criticises transfer test
04 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
McGuinness: Let's work together
03 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
NI's universities attract poorer students
05 Nov 99 | Education
Questions over 11-plus exams
15 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Research funding cuts criticised
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