The statement from the Northern Ireland Catholic Bishops makes it clear and unequivocal that Sir Kenneth Bloomfield was misinformed and misguided to suggest that Catholic grammar schools would be rallying under his AQE flag.

The Bishop’s statement contains the following:

We wish to state our clear opposition to the introduction of independent academic assessment tools by schools as a temporary or future means of pupil selection.

Sorry Sir Ken; no chance of Catholic grammars joining you with the CEA but thanks for all your help in adding to the chaos and confusion. The Catholic Bishops have made it perfectly clear all along that they were behind the rejection of academic selection in their schools despite having reaped the benefits for years.

Change should be implemented in a way which is sensitive to the practical needs of teachers and schools. This may require reasonable time for transition to new processes and structures.

Of course the Bishops fail to mention parents and pupils; neglecting their pledge of social justice and concern for the views of the child.  No voice for the poor but no matter;  “the poor will always be with us”

Indeed the Bishops seem to have neglected the needs and wishes of their non-Catholic neighbours entirely.

It must be stated:

The Catholic Church and its followers are perfectly entitled to their “superior” system of education ethos.

They do not however enjoy any right to impose such a system upon others.

If the Minister for Education’s vision is shared by the Catholic Church and vice versa so be it but dissenters are permitted by law to choose another way. Give parents and children the right to choose. For those who believe in equality of opportunity then the path is clear. Other members of the family of schools must stand up for themselves and refuse to be bullied by the big brother with the crozier or the petulant little sister with a menacing attitude.

On the little matter of the Governing Bodies Association (GBA) today’s statement means the end. Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and Wilfred Mulryne must resign or risk further ridicule.

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