Belfast Telegraph

O’Dowd welcomes union calls to end academic selection

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has welcomed calls by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for an end to academic selection.

The union has published a new leaflet “Academic Selection – Fail” saying, “Now is the time for an end to academic selection at 11".

Welcoming this new campaign by the ICTU, the Minister said: "The continued use of academic selection by grammar schools is a barrier to addressing educational underachievement in disadvantaged communities. The campaign to end academic selection is not only an educational issue, it is an equality issue.

“I welcome the leaflet campaign from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and I urge others to follow up on their opposition to academic selection and rejection with action.

“Many political parties, churches, academics, business and civic groups oppose academic selection. What is needed from them now is to turn that opposition into viable and visible action.”

The Minister continued: “I am not asking the diverse groups and individuals opposed to academic selection to support my position; I am asking them to take action in support of their own position.

“Grammar schools and their supporters need to listen to the increasing number of voices calling on them to end their use of unregulated and unnecessary tests as a means of deciding which children they will admit.”

Notes to editors:

1. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit for more information.

Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel:

2. See photos from the Department of Education in our collection at

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