Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Act now to halt tide of comprehensives

JUNE 26, 2013 marked a sad day for democracy in Northern Ireland. The SELB decision to rubberstamp its previously stated preferred option for imposing an all-ability, bilateral comprehensive on the community in the controlled sector – against its wishes – should be condemned by all right-thinking people.

The decision to abandon the Dickson Plan in favour of John O'Dowd's preference for non- selective, all-ability schools is a disgrace.

This is partly because it was taken by a small number of people who are not directly accountable to the thousands of people it will affect. The decision will also leave the SELB area with a single controlled grammar school – Banbridge Academy.

The people of Northern Ireland must see this as an attack by O'Dowd on the controlled sector.

This is especially true, as I note that the NEELB is currently turning their attention to four controlled post-primary schools in Ballymena: Cambridge House Grammar, Ballee High, Cullybackey High and Dunclug College.

No one should be surprised when an all-ability, bilateral comprehensive is suggested to replace Cambridge House. If the people of Northern Ireland do not wish to have comprehensive education imposed on them, then they must take action now – before it is too late.

Concerned parents should contact their MLAs to register their views with them.

NICOLE LAPPIN

Waringstown, Co Down

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