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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Opponents of 11-plus take stand
School examination
The last 11-plus examination will be held in 2008
Supporters of the abolition of the 11-plus have met at Stormont to "show solidarity" with government plans to drop the examination.

Speakers included members of the Alliance Party, SDLP and Sinn Fein, teacher associations and the voluntary and community sector.

Ballyclare Secondary School head Uel McCrea said children did not need to be put into different groupings at 11.

"It is simply not addressing the real educational needs," he said.

"My experience of education in Northern Ireland is that children at 11 are much too young to be separated into any groupings."

Naomi Long of the Alliance Party said they were not "knocking what had gone before".

"What we have got to do is look at how we move forward we don't educate our children for the past we don't even educate them for the present - we educate them for the future," she said.

'Different view'

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) said many politicians, teachers and leaders of civil society "support the ending of unfair and irrational selection of children at the age of 11".

Spokesman Paul McGill said: "The powerful grammar school lobby has been active on the issue but many other groups and individuals take a different view."

The last 11-plus transfer test is scheduled to be held in 2008.

In January 2004, the then education minister Jane Kennedy announced that the government was abolishing academic selection in Northern Ireland.

The first move to end the system was made by assembly education minister Martin McGuinness hours before he left office in October 2002.

Group to take 11-plus legal case
23 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Plans to replace 11-plus released
06 Dec 05 |  Northern Ireland

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