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BBC Northern Ireland reporter, Maggie Taggart, continues to push the DENI and Sinn Fein line concerning the ending of the 11-plus and the vacuum filling its absence.


Taggart’s first major gaffe on the issue of accuracy surrounds the statement:

Few people mourn the passing of the current test but there is consternation among some parents, teachers and politicians that there will be no officially regulated method for grammar schools to choose the brightest pupils.

Using data from the DENI Household Survey of 2002 where close to 100,000 respondents were satisfied with the 11-plus transfer test and the fact that 15,000 pupils took the last 11-plus transfer test  two weeks ago makes the statement “Few people mourn the passing of the current test” seem like editorialising but is neither accurate nor reflective of publc sentiment.

The second area of concern arises from the statement:

As an interim measure, the minister for education has offered a compromise deal: Grammar schools could use tests set and marked by the CCEA (Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment).

The Parental Alliance for Choice in Education sought the specification for such a test given earlier claims that testing the revised curriculum was impossible. The BBC have been provided with a copy of an FOI request reply 2008/184F from the CCEA in which they state:

In applying the exemption CCEA has considered the Public Interest Test (PIT).  Some information such as the format and length of the test is already in the public domain.  Publication of the specification at this stage would not further public understanding of the issue.  We have concluded, therefore, that the balance remains in favour of withholding the information.

Simple message from Ruane’s DENI and CCEA. We’ll tell you what is good for you.