Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Transfer test must be fair to all children

As P7 children prepare to sit the transfer test this November, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People has published a report on the experiences of children who sat the new transfer tests last year.

The report is based largely on interviews they conducted with children who sat the test and their parents and teachers.

The parents, teachers and children make one very clear point; that we need to agree a single transfer system which is as straightforward as possible.

The last three years has seen the Minister for Education take an overtly adversarial approach to the education system, in which she has attacked and alienated any school and any parent who did not agree with her viewpoint. This attitude needs to change.

It is obvious that some form of test will continue to be used by the schools and parents who want it, so the Department of Education should be working with those schools to make that test as fair and stress-free as possible and not simply refusing to help or to accommodate.

I hope that this report, available on the commission's website, will focus minds away from party-political arguing and onto the real issue of creating a system that is as fair as possible to children.

LORD BROWNE

House of Lords

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