Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Post 11-plus plan 'wins support'

examination paper
The last 11-plus was on Friday 21 November

More and more people in Northern Ireland believe pupils should transfer to post-primary schools at age 14, the deputy first minister has said.

On BBC NI's Inside Politics, Martin McGuinness said all parties needed to agree on a replacement for the 11-plus.

Earlier this week, MEP Jim Allister unveiled a document that he said was from the DUP, suggesting the party was more open to transfer at 14.

The four main churches have also proposed for pupil transfer at 14.

In his interview on Saturday, Mr McGuinness said: "There is, I think, a very important debate raging within education and within the wider community.

"There appears to be, in my view, a growing consensus that pupils should be transferred at the age of 14 as opposed to 11."

In early November, the Church of Ireland, Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches announced a joint plan to help end the 11-plus stalemate.

They said pupil transfer at 14 years instead of 11 years was a "workable proposal".

Their input was welcomed by Education Minister Caitriona Ruane who said it was "a helpful intervention".

More than 15,000 children sat the last ever 11-plus paper in Northern Ireland on Friday 21 November.

Politicians, parents and teachers have complained that there is still no concrete plan as to what will replace the 11-plus.

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