While local political parties wrangle over their relationships with the Conservatives PACE put out a Press Release highlighting inconsistencies in the “local” policy in June. It was not a surprise that the media did not pick up on the story. The PR is reprinted here in full .


 Responding to answers contained in a UGOV poll conducted by the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education highlighted glaring inconsistencies in Conservative education policy between here and Great Britain.

 The poll answers were obtained on proposals for the ending of academic selection via the 11-plus in Northern Ireland The poll results demonstrate widespread rejection by the majority of respondents.

Stephen Elliott, Chairman of the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education, an organisation which represents parental rights in education throughout the U.K. said: 

Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, stated unequivocally on the BBC Andrew Marr Show on Sunday June 1st when asked about academic selection “No, we don’t believe in selection.”

“This message does not seemed to have reached Northern Ireland or the local Conservative party are attempting to con the electorate.”

“Claims to absolutely defend existing grammar schools throughout the UK ring hollow when the Conservative Party have stated that they do not support selection.”

David Cameron and the Conservative Party must urgently review their decision to abandon support for academic selection in the large areas of England that do not currently have it as this decision leaves their position riddled with inconsistencies.”


Concluding his remarks he said:

“Attempts by representatives of the Conservative party in Northern Ireland to spin a UGOV poll should not be facilitated by the media without fact checking. The implication that the Conservatives oppose the ending of academic selection and the 11-plus because they believe in selection are misleading and false.

“While this finding is not unexpected it is clear that Governmet proposals attacking grammar schools  here and in England are likely to negatively affect the entire education system.”

Until a valid and reliable 11-plus replacement meeting international standards is developed the Minister for Education and her officials must continue with the current tests. The message has always been clear that is what parents want. Educationalists and politicians must deliver improvements in choice and standards”


Note to editors

Source for Michael Gove MP statement: Transcript from The Andrew Marr Show BBC Sunday June 1st ,2008

Source for poll findings: You Gov Poll commissioned by Conservative Party N.I. with embargo to 7.00am 24th June 2008

The question on the poll asked:, “The Minister of Education Caitriona Ruanewould like to see the current 11+ system in schools scrapped. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this proposal?”

79% of DUP voters, 77% of UUP voters, 75% Alliance Voters, 36% of SDLP voters and 34% of Sinn Feinvoters disagree with Sinn Fein Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane’s plans