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In the absence of regular Opinion writer Susan McKay on Tuesday February 3rd the nationalist newspaper gave their former education correspondent and sub editor, Aeneas Bonner a run at the 11-plus debacle.

Unfortunately in a “plague on all your houses” piece Aeneas became rather liberal with the facts and attempted to absolve those directly responsible for the current chaos by blaming politicians instead of the educationalists.

Starting with the claim


Not only has the executive been unable to agree a replacement for the 11-plus after almost two years in power”

Fact: There has not been a replacement on offer. The government threw out the 11-plus knowing full well what would follow. They hope that a gullible public and self-serving education influencers would save the day with some cobbled together compromise.

Unfortunately that is not going to happen.

If the 11-plus was a form of child abuse, then what is coming now must be some cruel exercise in child experimentation.

Fact:  Aeneas Bonner and the current education correspondents know full well that since 2002 and the announcement of the 11-plus being taken off the legislative books parents teachers pupils and politicians have taken full advantge of the objective test. There has been no rejection of what Bonner describes as a “form of child abuse”. No one apart from those practiced in “cruel exercise in child experimentation” have employed such emotive labguage.

Now that the wished for unregulated system has arrived the nervous twitter from those responsible for producing the chaos is reaching grand-mal proportions. 

Bonner’s pitch for Assessment for Learning as a solution to relace an 11-plus objective transfer test is representative of the weak minded unrealistic approach offered by those afraid to confront the facts.

The 11-plus may be off the books today but as surely as the Sun rises in the east it will return. Regulated or not until a superior instrument is devised the 11-plus remains the gold standard.

It is a test that has taught a few journalists a lesson.

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