Caitriona Ruane has told teachers that they should not tutor 10-year-olds for “breakaway admissions tests”.
The Education Minister was speaking last night at the NASUWT’s annual conference in Belfast.
The minister told delegates: “This conference is being held at a time of improved political stability following the Hillsborough Agreement.
“Education continues to be the focus of much public attention as we work to prepare our children and young people for life.
“The Department of Education policy on post-primary transfer arrangements is for a non-selective system.
“The 11-plus is gone and there will be no return to any form of academic testing as part of our transfer procedures.”
And she added: “One area that has been overlooked is the involvement of teachers in private tutoring of 10-year-old children for breakaway tests.
“I have previously told schools that teaching of the revised curriculum should not be distorted to prepare children for these tests.
“I would now urge all teachers not to get involved in a practice that excludes and discriminates against children from lower income families. Private tutoring for breakaway tests provides support to a system that is unnecessary and unjust and further perpetuates inequality.
“It is a further obstacle preventing children from accessing the education to which they are entitled.
“In addition to implementing new policies, since May 2007 we have invested over £500m in modern school accommodation.
“We need to provide a quality schools estate to help teachers deliver improved educational standards to all children and young people.
“Education is, however, facing pressures as a result of the financial context in which the Executive is operating.
“That is why we must start to deliver efficiencies, remove the variability of service and continue to raise standards. The challenge for all sections of the community is to make these changes work effectively for all children.”