Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 17:43 UK

Bishop in 'self interest' claim

School fence

A senior Catholic bishop has accused some schools of looking after their own self interest in planning to continue academic selection.

Bishop Donal McKeown reminded Catholic grammar schools of "the moral unfairness of the selective system".

If the final 11-plus takes place in November, 30 Catholic schools have been told that they should not plan to fill the vacuum with independent tests.

About 30 non-denominational grammar schools plan to introduce such tests.

The Catholic bishops, who own most of the Catholic schools, prefer that parents should match their child to the school which suits them, whether academic or vocational.

Bishop McKeown is chairman of the Catholic Commission which is managing changes in education.

"There are people who obviously want to defend their own self interest," he said.

"We are saying that all of us are publicly funded schools, all of us are being funded to the hilt by the Department of Education.

"All of us need to work together in the interest of the common good and not just in the interest of a small number of schools."

One Catholic Grammar school in Londonderry has said it will break ranks and use its own independent assessment test when the 11-plus finishes.

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