Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 12:17 UK

Derry school to ignore minister

Schoolchildren (generic)
The school wants to introduce its own aptitude test

The principal of a grammar school at the centre of a row over the 11-plus has said the education minister has no legal right to stop academic selection.

Caitríona Ruane wrote to Lumen Christi College in Londonderry on Monday asking them to reconsider their decision to introduce their own entrance exam.

But the principal, Pat O'Doherty, said the school was determined to go ahead with its plans.

"For us the most important single thing is the primacy of parental choice."

The 11-plus exam is due to come to an end this year.

Mr O'Doherty said the school's decision was in the best interests of parents and children.

"Catholic teaching clearly establishes that parents are the prime educators of their children.

"Parents certainly will most dearly protect the interests of their children and her imposition of a one size fits all model will deny that parental choice," said Mr O'Doherty.

In her letter, Ms Ruane warned Lumen Christi College and 40 primary schools in the Londonderry area that her department will not pay for the tests or any legal action.

"The board of governors should be in no doubt that the Department of Education will not fund, facilitate or in any way support a breakaway entrance test," she wrote.

"Nor will the department allow any interference with the delivery of the revised curriculum in primary schools."

Minister rebukes school test move
21 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
School plan for pupil selection
19 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland

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