Fearon calls for end of academic selection

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

In the wake of a technical glitch which left 30 Magherafelt pupils with incorrect transfer test results, Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has called for grammar schools to ‘immediately cease the unjustifiable use of unregulated entrance exams’.

Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon

Speaking to Newry Times, Fearon said, “News that 30 primary seven pupils received incorrect marks in transfer tests serves to highlight the needless pressure and stress that these young people are under.

“I think that the argument of testing children at ten and eleven has long been proven to be detrimental to the educational development of our young people and I support comments made in November by the Catholic Principals’ Association Chairperson Michelle Corkey who described academic testing as “corrosive of a child’s dignity and worth”.

“Academic excellence will only be further enhanced by introducing equality into our schools; we only need to glance at the long list of high achieving systems worldwide to see the fruits of giving all our children fair opportunity,” she insisted.

“Currently the vast majority of grammar schools across the North operate on an all-ability level with grades from A to D being accepted so there really is no reason for such high-pressure entrance exams.

“I welcome calls from the Catholic Principal Association for Grammar school to stop the unregulated tests and reiterate their call on Catholic Bishops to take more affirmative action in making this happen.

Fearon added, “The time is now right to remove these stressful tests from our education system and allow all of our children the opportunity to maximise their potential through equality in education.”

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