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The Belfast Telegraph, www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk carried the headline; Keep out of it on the eve of this year’s AQE transfer test. The anti-academic selection SDLP’s education spokesman Dominic Bradley told Kathryn Torney that responses to a secret paper comprised by the self-styled Educationalists Advisory Panel including Michele Marken and Paul Hewitt were out of bounds.

“That is not any of your business. That is private business within the parties”

Dominic Bradley SDLP education spokesman

The attitute of both the newspaper and the politicians to post-primary transfer highlights their basic misunderstanding of  the principle of academic selection for grammar schools.

  • It is not a matter for consensus. There can be no compromise without betrayal of the principle. A grammar school without academic selection is not a grammar school. In England the Academies programme initiated by Labour and carried on by the Conservatives/Liberal Democrats has become the substitute for comprehensive schools. Some grammar school headteachers have, in persuit of more money, sought to transform their schools to academies. An academy has an all-ability, non-academically selective intake therefore the school becomes a comprehensive. Retaining the name grammar in the school’s name exacerbates the deception.
  • Gerald Warner has highlighted Michael Gove’s deception on the academies, it is a pity that none of the educationalists in Northern Ireland have pointed out the danger in a part of the UK where 42% of pupils attend grammar schools.  http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100049415/michael-goves-potemkin-academies-and-free-schools-are-bogus-evasions-of-real-education-reform/

Michael Gove has made no secret of his delusional ploy 

 “to provide a grammar education without the selection” 


Northern Ireland is now holding its breath for the first Montessori and Steiner schools to appear on the Shankill Road. Dawn Purvis MLA will be cutting the ribbon if her former colleagues in the PUP/UVF allow.