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Belfast Telegraph campaign wins top Press award

The Belfast Telegraph has scooped a major award for our Sit Down Sort It Out campaign.

Education Correspondent Kathryn Torney picked up the prestigious accolade at the NUJ Regional Press Awards in London last night. The judges praised Kathryn’s “sustained and realistic” campaign which has been putting Northern Ireland’s leaders under pressure to resolve the school transfer crisis since last September.

Last year she presented a petition of 10,000 signatures to members of the education committee on the steps of Stormont. “We are delighted that the campaign has been recognised,” Kathryn said.

“We are also really pleased that four of the main political parties are now sitting down on a weekly basis to discuss the transfer issue.

“However this campaign will continue until all five parties are in talks to agree a way forward for all children, not only those in primary education but for those children who are coming into education now.”

Kathryn said it was hoped that the four parties would reach a consensus view on the issue soon after the summer recess.

She staved off tough competition from the Croydon Guardian, Sunday Sun and Haringey Advertiser to take the award.

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In his citation, judge Ray Snoddy said: “The art of the newspaper campaign is alive and well in the regional Press.

“The winner for a sustained and measured campaign to persuade Northern Ireland’s warring politicians to take part in all party talks to decide what should replace the 11-Plus is Kathryn Torney of the Belfast Telegraph.

“The Telegraph’s Sit Down, Sort It Out campaign brought four of the five main political parties together to try and ensure a province-wide system of transfer from primary school.”

This latest honour comes after a string of successes at last month’s CIPR Awards where the Belfast Telegraph was crowned Newspaper of the Year. Belfast Telegraph editor Mike Gilson said: “This is yet more recognition for the excellent standard of journalism at the Belfast Telegraph. The Sit Down, Sort It Out campaign has struck a chord with parents across Northern Ireland and we are determined to continue with it until there is a resolution to the current logjam at Stormont.”

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