Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Attacking grammar schools is not the answer

THE Education Minister's plan to create a "non-selective grammar school" in Craigavon is a confused mish-mash, which enforces religious segregation (News, March 4). John O'Dowd's proposals to merge three schools in the Catholic maintained sector have little to recommend them.

Not only do they show complete disregard for the majority of parents, who want selection to be maintained, they also compound the sectarian divide.

Sinn Fein seems to believe that one school fits all, while children should remain segregated on the basis of their religion. That's completely wrong.

NI Conservatives believe that different types of education should be equally valued. We want to see schools which offer excellent teaching and an academic emphasis and schools which offer excellent teaching with a more vocational emphasis.

The key is trying to get the best out of each child and encouraging excellence, rather than simply attacking the grammar sector.

At the same time, there should be a constant effort to encourage pupils from different backgrounds to learn together and break down religious segregation.

John O'Dowd, like previous Sinn Fein education ministers, doesn't seem to care what parents think, or what's best for children. He's completely blinded by his loathing for grammar schools.

His attack on grammar schools proves he is incapable of acting in the interests of children.

MARK BROTHERSTON

NI Conservatives

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