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All pupils are entitled to a rounded education

In Saturday's Belfast Telegraph (March 13) it was suggested, among other things, that I was critical of our Education Minister for scrapping the transfer test.

I was never a fan of the 11-Plus examination and I am glad to see it go (although I do see selection as inevitable - it's part of life - but it can be done in a better, more equitable way).

What I am a fan of is the sort of educational opportunities offered by a school like Campbell College, which cherishes pupils for who they are and what they may become.

Campbell call it the 'total curriculum', which recognises the importance of academic excellence, but also that there is much more to a rounded education as well.

When I said I would like to see the Department of Education build another 100 Campbell Colleges, I was not supporting the idea that all parents have to find the money for a fee-paying school, rather I was painting a vision of a future where the ethos and facilities of Campbell could be replicated around Northern Ireland for those who cannot afford fees.

On the subject of fees, it is not the case that Campbell's fees range freely within the band of £2,090 to £6,000, as suggested in Saturday's report.

The tuition fee for a day pupil from an EU member state, like ours, is £2,090 - although some pay less due to the college's bursary system.

Only day pupils from non-EU member states pay £6,000.


UCUNF candidate, Strangford


From Belfast Telegraph