Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

We must stop John O'Dowd's plan for grammars

I read with interest your education correspondent Lindsay Fergus's informative articles on the expected decision to scrap the Dickson Plan (News, June 21).

The minister, John O'Dowd, makes spurious arguments in support of this. Through your paper and elsewhere, he has revealed Sinn Fein's agenda to steamroller a comprehensive system through Craigavon.

The SELB has received only 20 letters from the local community in support of this move, compared with 1,700 letters rejecting it. The SELB and the minister's plans will leave Lurgan, Portadown and Craigavon without any acceptable grammar school provision.

Although the SELB's decision this week will initially affect Craigavon and surrounding areas, there will be an inevitable knock-on effect for towns such as Banbridge, Lisburn, Armagh, Dungannon and Belfast.

This is because the brightest children from Craigavon, who wish to have a grammar school education, will take up grammar school places in these towns. This will deny grammar places to children local to Banbridge, Lisburn, Armagh, Dungannon and Belfast.

If the SELB and John O'Dowd get their way – then the minister will then turn his attention to other places in Northern Ireland, as he seeks to impose comprehensive education elsewhere. He must be stopped at all costs.

NICOLE LAPPIN

Waringstown, Co Down

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