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While various organisations in Northern Ireland such as The Governing Bodies Association (GBA) and The Association for Quality Education (AQE) have claimed to represent parental views on the issue of academic selection and grammar schools their sister grouping in England have been “outed” by The National Grammar Schools Association (NGSA) http://www.ngsa.org.uk

 The NGSA was formed in the 1970s. It is a non-political, not-for-profit organisation supported by parents, school governors, heads, teachers, educationists and others, all concerned with the retention and promotion of the UK’s grammar schools as a valuable choice for parents.

Interestingly almost all of the 69 grammar schools in Northern Ireland declined an invitation to join this influential body when members of the NGSA co-hosted a symposium at Stormont a number of years ago and extended invitations to show strength in numbers. Perhaps local principals were already aware of the plans to destroy grammar schools in Northern Ireland and were cooperating fully with the DENI on implementing the rationalisation and comprehensive model.  The roles of the former head of Methodist College, Belfast Wilfred Mulryne, Inst’s first female head, Janet Williamson, Ballymena Academy principal, Ronnie Hazzard and Neill Morton of Portora Royal School in Enniskillen  are worthy of examination and critical review. 

Read the quote from Shaun Fenton , Head of the successful and popular Pates Grammar School to understand that principals may have conflicted positions and say one thing to government while posing a very opposite position to parents and governors.

(Times Educational Supplement, 3 July 2009, p10)

“Before its official launch, the new Grammar Schools Heads Association(exclusive only to heads)  had already been working with the Sutton Trust and holding meetings with the Department for Children, Schools and Families…  Mr Shaun Fenton , Head of Pates Grammar School said the launch of the association was not timed with an eye on a general election within the next year. He said it would not be campaigning to save schools, such as St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar in Slough, Berkshire, that are slated for closure. ‘We support grammar schools as part of a diverse provision of education’, Mr Fenton said. ‘But if it works locally for a grammar school to become an academy [which must be comprehensive], that is a decision to be made locally. Gradual evolution is fine.'”