Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Our transfer campaign is coming to Stormont

Every member of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be given the opportunity back our call for all-party talks to sort out the transfer chaos.

We are bringing our Sit Down, Sort It Out petition to Parliament Buildings on Monday morning to give our elected representatives the chance add their support.

And the petition will be sent by email to every MLA. We are asking all 108 Assembly members to add their name to the hundreds of signatures already secured.

Emails are continuing to flood into the Telegraph from people signing up online and we have had a very strong response when we take the petition out on the streets or to school gates.

Our petition calls for Executive talks to resolve the ongoing school transfer crisis. It does not call for academic selection to be retained or scrapped – that will be up to the politicians to decide.

The DUP, SDLP, Alliance Party and Ulster Unionist Party have already backed the campaign.

DUP education spokesman Mervyn Storey said: “I welcome the fact that the Belfast Telegraph has decided to take up the issue of the future of our education system.

“For too long the minister, Caitriona Ruane, has attempted to circumvent the democratically-expressed will of the Assembly that academic selection should remain in place.”

However, Sinn Fein education spokesman John O’Dowd said party decisions at the Executive and the Assembly will be made according to legislative rules “rather than editorial campaigns by the Belfast Telegraph”.

Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “We are taking our petition directly to the politicians and are urging them to add their names to the strong public call for action which is gaining in strength every day.

“It is essential that the Executive sits down to sort out the school transfer crisis and these talks must take place soon.

“With the petition right on their doorstep, we hope that the Assembly members will take the time to make their views known.

“Thousands of young people in P6 and their families are anxiously awaiting news of how they will transfer to schools in 2011. It is our hope that they will not have to endure the confusion and stress which has blighted the final year at primary school for this year's P7s.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the petition so far. Anyone else who would like to join our campaign can go to www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk to register their support.”

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