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Academic selection critics appointed as governors

STAFF REPORTER

THREE of the four most recent Stormont appointments to the board of governors at St Patrick's Grammar School in Armagh are known opponents of academic selection.

Like the Education Minister John O'Dowd, Gerard White and Noel Sheridan are members of Sinn Fein.

The republican party is firmly opposed to academic selection and scrapped the 11-plus.

Mr White and Mr Sheridan were appointed alongside the former head of St Joseph's High School in Crossmaglen, Kevin Scally, in mid January.

Mr Scally is highly regarded in the field of education – and strongly opposes selection.

The prominent member of the Catholic Principals' Association once said: "All-ability schools such as St Joseph's prove that all young people can achieve success without recourse to unregulated academic selection."

During his time as head of St Joseph's High School in Crossmaglen, the school was among the top achieving non-selective schools.

These three, along with Rev Tony Davidson, have been the only departmental appointees since 2007. Their tenure runs until December 2016.

Mr White is the Deputy Mayor of Armagh City Council. The 32-year-old also works in Craigavon Hospital.

Noel Sheridan was elected to Armagh Council in 1993. He was deputy mayor in 2007 and served as mayor in 2008/09.

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