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Ruane: I stand for excellence in education

I would like the opportunity to respond to a recent correspondent regarding grammar schools.

There is a view that only by subjecting 10-year-old children to selection tests to determine their post-primary school can they receive an academic education.

The evidence from many other jursidictions who abandoned academic selection many years ago shows this view to be mistaken. International assessments show non-selective education systems can produce better outcomes than academic selection systems.

That, and because it is wrong to brand some children a success, but many more as failures, at 11 years of age, is why we no longer provide state-sponsored testing.

We have many non-selective post-primary schools providing excellent outcomes in both academic and non-academic areas.

There is also a view that I am anti-grammar schools. That is not the case. In fact, I recently allocated the the bulk of the additional capital funding to two grammars.

I have always said I am for excellence in education, and have a range of policy initiatives to raise educational standards and narrow the gap between students at the top of the results table and those the system is failing.

I make no apology for working to deliver excellence in education based on equality for every child and young person.

CATRIONA RUANE

Minister of Education

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