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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK
Education proposals 'not enough'
The Burns proposals on the reform of education in Northern Ireland do not go far enough, head teachers from Catholic secondary schools have said.

They are pushing for a comprehensive education system which, they say, is preferred by the vast majority of countries around the world.

The Burns review of Northern Ireland's education system, set up by Education Minister Martin McGuinness, recommended an end to the controversial 11-plus transfer test.

The exam is a selection test for children in primary seven and determines to which type of school they will transfer.
Education minister Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness set up education review body

The Catholic secondary school principals have led the battle against the 11-plus and academic selection in recent years.

Speaking on Friday, the principals said they were happy everyone seemed to have reject the "discredited and crude" 11-plus.

But they said the ideas in the Burns report could not end academic and social selection soon enough.

The principals said if secondary and grammar schools still exist, those from more affluent backgrounds will get into the most favoured schools.

'Unworkable'

In rejecting the Burns proposals and going for all-ability schooling, the Catholic heads are sending the same response as the Progressive Unionist Party, which has also said the proposals do not go far enough.

The 300-page report by the Post Primary Review body, which was published last October, suggested the test be scrapped within two years.

Principals of the grammar schools have particularly criticised elements of the Burns plan, such as the collegiate system, which they said was an unworkable grouping of schools.

They also said the suggestion that parents will be able to match their children to the education best-suited to them was "fraudulent".

The consultation will continue until the end of June, and it is predicted that the Burns proposals will not be accepted in their entirety.

See also:

02 May 02 | Northern Ireland
Consensus needed over Burns Report
22 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Children give views on 11-plus
24 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Report calls for end of 11-plus
24 Oct 01 | Education
The remaining grammar schools
10 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
11-plus students get results
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