Caitriona Ruane’s excuse for the continued deregulated and chaotic vacuum in post-primary transfer arrangements has been made clear in answer to a question put by an assembly member
Post-Primary Transfer: CCEA Test
Mr W Clarke asked the Minister of Education to detail why she has withdrawn the test that CCEA had been developing.
Minister of Education: Is é an t-aon bhealach amháin gur féidir teist a chur ar fáil ar bhonn freagrach, ná creatlach reachtach a chur léi a mhíníonn cén dóigh a n-úsáidfear í.
The only way a test could responsibly be made available is if there is a legislative framework defining its use. The successful operation of an admission-determining test requires not just a test, but a legal framework providing for which schools can and cannot use it, stating exactly how it should and should not be used and also stating that it alone should be used.
The test was a contingency for an agreement. My proposals featured a test in the interests of compromise and to give grammar schools three years to adjust to a long-term future without any selection and without any test. The reason that will not now happen is because others were not capable of equivalent concessions.
Minister Ruane’s warped thinking is exposed in her answer. She had hoped to gain political consensus from her victims, the grammar schools and those who believe in a choice for a grammar school, via their political representatives, to agree their own suicide.
Her effort has rightly failed but it remains her responsibility and duty of care to uphold the rights of children and their parents to a form of schooling which meets their needs. Ms Ruane continues to preside over a failed administration. It is unfortunate that her political opponents have been unable to outwit her.
The following question and reply appear in the Answer Booklet on the Northern Ireland Assembly website.
Post Primary Transfer
Mr S Moutray asked the Minister of Education how many complaints she has received from parents about post primary transfer arrangements in the last year (i) in total; (ii) broken down by constituency; and (iii) broken down by council area
Minister of Education: Tá méid suntasach chomhfhreagrais faighte agam i rith na tréimhse seo maidir le hábhar an aistrithe iarbhunscoile, agus in alán cásanna, bíonn tuismitheoirí agus eile ar lorg léiriúcháin faoi shonruithe um fhorbairt mo mholtaí ar an aistriú iarbhunscoile agus le déanaí ar fhoilsiú na Treoir um Aistriú 2010.
I have received a considerable volume of correspondence on the subject of post-primary transfer during this period, and in many instances parents and others are seeking clarification on points of details about the development of my proposals for post-primary transfer and in more recent times the publishing of Transfer 2010 guidance. Correspondence of this nature is not routinely classified by any category and may take the form of enquiries, supportive or negative comments, or personal views on a way forward. On occasions parental correspondence includes a request for me to bring certainty to bear on arrangements for Transfer 2010. It is a subjective judgement as to whether correspondence of this nature should be described as letters of complaint, and in an increasing number of instances parental correspondence takes the form of an e-mail which contains no address details, hence precluding any analysis by constituency or council area. The information requested is therefore not readily available.
If the minister won’t listen to her travel agent or car mechanic on transfer and tests as parodied in the BBC The Folks on the Hill,
what chance have mere parents?