Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 13:15 UK

DUP welcome priest's 11+ views

The issue of the 11-Plus has proved controversial
The issue of academic selection has proved controversial

The DUP has welcomed comments by a Catholic educationalist who criticised the ending of academic selection.

In an interview with the Irish News Fr Ignatius McQuillan said that if Catholic grammar schools become comprehensives more parents will send their children to non-catholic schools.

Catholic bishops have ordered their schools to phase out selection.

The DUP's Mervyn Storey said the comments showed "growing opposition" to non-selective schooling.

"I have always believed that the nationalist parties, the SDLP and Sinn Fein, were out of step with a large section of the nationalist community over the issue of academic selection," he added.

"In his remarks Fr McQuillan recognises that the loss of grammar schools in England has not improved education prospects nor social mobility of working class children."

Fr McQuillan is a former headteacher of St Columb's College in Derry and also helped found Lumen Christi College.

Lumen Christi, which achieves some of the best exam results in Northern Ireland, was the first Catholic school to announce it would hold an entrance exam in the absence of the 11-plus.

The final 11-plus was held in Northern Ireland's schools last November.

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