Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Robinson told to butt out in transfer test row

By Lesley Houston

Published 12/05/2012

The First Minister is “powerless” to propose any initiative to find a common transfer test for Northern Ireland's 11-year-olds, according to a Sinn Fein MLA.

North Antrim Assemblyman Daithi McKay said the DUP leader “needs to realise that the Education Minister is the one that decides education policy, and part of that policy is opposition to selection at the age of 11”.

Alliance’s education spokesman Trevor Lunn has also rejected the First Minister's plan, claiming that it offered no long-term solution to post-primary school transfer.

The MLAs were responding to the First Minister's suggestion that a common test be found for Northern Ireland schools that wish to participate to replace the current unregulated system many schools use.

Mr Robinson conceded this week “we are not going to reach agreement” but maintained “it is the kind of subject where there isn't a middle ground”.

Sinn Fein Education Minister John O'Dowd has upheld his party's rejection of academic selection at the age of 11.

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