Given the impasse created as a consequence of one political party Minister attempting to undemocratically impose comprehensive schooling upon Northern Ireland on behalf of a cadre of unelected, unaccountable, unconvincing educationalists (there’s an oxymoron if ever there was one) a simple practical solution to the problem presents itself.
The current 11-plus is simply renamed or rebranded. No other change required. This should happen in much the same way that academic and vocational subjects became general and applied or the enriched curriculum merged into the revised curriculum which became the Northern Ireland curriculum (but only until an edict is issued directing a change to “north of ireland”).
The fact remains that the 11-plus works. No doubt about it. The absence of legal challenge from those expert in issuing proceedings on all things educational proves the point.
So, to avoid further torture of the pupils, anxiety for parents and the floods of crocodile tears and hand-wringing from teachers and politicans just come up with a new moniker and get on with teaching in schools. With apologies to the famous 7-Up ad it must be said of the 11-plus ” always had it, always will”.
If any of the bright spark educationalists (Tony Gallagher, Wilfred Mulryne, Gavin Boyd, Jim Clarke, Aux Bishop Donal McKeown, Sir Kenneth Bloomfiel, Carmel Gallagher, Carol McGuinness, Laura Lundy, Uel McCrea, Frank Bunting, Avril Hall-Callaghan etc.) wish to challenge the international standards met by the DENI/CCEA/NFER 11-plus which were designed to protect children from rubbish assessments, and are met by the current transfer test they could start by putting effort into a legal action. No doubt the Catholic Church, Sinn Fein, the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, SDLP, Alliance, the US Consul, GBA, AQE will be only too happy to contribute.
The clock starts now. In the meantime start work on the re-branding exercise but leave the acronym CEA out of it. You have 3 months to answer this question before the chaos starts in earnest. Parents want an assessment of your learning