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Ruane to spell out school transfer plans

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane is set to present the Executive with a plan to end the bitter row over replacing the 11-Plus, it emerged today.

The minister has already plotted a three-year phasing out of the transfer test, but her party Sinn Fein has yet to agree a comprehensive blueprint for the future with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Today it emerged that in the absence of agreement, Ms Ruane will hand ministers a paper on the issue revealing her decision on how best to move forward.

"It is now time for clarity and a decision on the replacing of the 11-Plus," a Sinn Fein source said today.

There had, they said, been a prolonged consultation with key stakeholders and political parties.

"But parents, teachers and children need a clear decision," they added.

"It is now time to bring the discussion to a conclusion."

The minister is to circulate a policy memorandum on post primary transfer among Executive colleagues.

The minister hopes to have the matter discussed at Thursday's Executive meeting where she will seek ministerial approval for regulations.

It is understood talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein have failed to agree a deal on the issue, despite growing concern among parents and teachers.

Sinn Fein said the DUP had so far failed to discuss the issue properly.

The party added: "It is our belief that we can now move forward decisively and quickly in the interests of all our children."

Belfast Telegraph