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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Report calls for end of 11-plus
Review of test was published on Wednesday
A review of Northern Ireland's education system has recommended an end to the controversial 11-plus exam transfer test.

The exam is a selection test for children in primary seven and determines which type of school they transfer to.

The 300-page report by the Post Primary Review body, which was published on Wednesday, suggests that the test be scrapped within two years.

Pupils currently in primary six could now be the last to sit the test.

The report has three main cornerstones:

  • An end to the 11-plus after 2002 with grammar schools no longer permitted to choose pupils on academic grounds.

  • A pupil profile will follow a child's progress and help parents choose the most suitable post-primary school.

  • Schools in 20 areas around Northern Ireland will be grouped together in what is called a collegiate system with pupils being able to move between them.

    'Raise standards'

    The report recommends that these groups embrace all types of schools, including Catholic, integrated and Irish medium but they would keep their independence.

    Education minister Martin McGuinness
    Martin McGuinness: Report welcomed
    The review body said 45m should be allocated to raise the standards of equipment and buildings in some schools.

    The chairman of the review body, Gerry Burns, said it was a jigsaw plan that must be implemented as a whole without cherry-picking.

    "It is crucial that the proposals we are unveiling today are taken as an integral package, rather than separate and free-standing components.

    "Our recommendations can ensure that, through a new educational dispensation, our education system will be second to none," said Mr Burns.

    Consultation

    The review was ordered last year by Education Minister Martin McGuinness and is now open to consultation for the next six months.

    Mr McGuinness called on everyone to take part in that process.

    "Obviously the 11-plus isn't going to end this year and in all probability not next year.


    Sammy Wilson: Report authors criticised
    "But this important report I think undoubtedly poses all of us with a huge challenge in relation to the need to put in place proper post-primary education," he said.

    Democratic Unionist Party education spokesman Sammy Wilson criticised the report.

    "If the level of assessment were applied to the Burns report in 11-plus terms it would get a D grade," he said.

    SDLP education spokesperson Patricia Lewsley welcomed the scrapping of the test.

    She said: "We have maintained our opposition to selection on the grounds that the system is unfair."

  • See also:

    17 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
    Mother loses 11-plus dyslexia appeal
    31 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
    Rally urges end to 11-plus
    10 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
    11-plus students get results
    28 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
    NI education debate begins
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