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The Parental Alliance for Choice in Education wish to pass on their congratulations to all pupils who received results today from their efforts in taking transfer tests last November.
Today is a time for celebration, recognition and relaxation.
No doubt parents and family will be asked and may themselves be asking a multitude of questions about the next phase –“ will my mark or grade be sufficient to gain a place at a grammar school. There can be no immediate answer to that course of enquiry, it will only end when the admissions process is completed.
Unfortunately every year since the Department of Education withdrew the transfer test, the Minister of Education and his misinformation campaigners have sought to sow seeds of doubt about the popularity of the system which filled the vacuum.
Politicians and the media fan the flames by making unhelpful, ambiguous or ignorant statements and/or publishing opinion pieces about the tests. They also stray onto the curriculum, coaching or teaching to the test, and most egregiously pretend to support parents and pupils, all the while pushing the anti-selection, anti-grammar school line.
Take this example from the BBC in 2012 quoting First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Another example is the mixed message editorial from the Belfast Telegraph in which Mike Gilson invites ridicule over the number of pupils taking the tests.
But this move by the department is a nonsense in any case. Last year some 10,000 pupils took the unregulated AQE and GL Assessment tests despite opposition from Education Minister John O’Dowd.
The shambles is that Belfast Telegraph readers are expected to believe a figure cited which is 4,500 lower than the combined record entry of 14,531. Where did Mike Gilson come up with this number? – The DENI? The BBC? The Detail? The Inspectorate? or is it simply a figment of his imagination?
How about the “analysis” of Lindsay Fergus? On November 17,2014 she wrote in The Belfast Telegraph
Parents and schools both appear to have confidence in the system.
….Yet Ms McIlveen (DUP MLA and Chair of Education Committee) is right- we need one test. No test would be better……Not only would one test spare those pupils who do opt to sit both assessments having to undertake five papers, it would create uniformity.
It is time for those opposed to parental choice and academic selection by attainment testing to admit defeat in their ideological campaign.
Like it or not, parental support has remained constant since Martin McGuinness’ Household Survey of 2002. There will be no acceptance of a comprehensive system in Northern Ireland and the wasted taxpayers’ money spend by anti-grammar school groups should be put back into traditional classrooms.
Well done to all those who received results today.
There are no failures in trying.