McGrath: Hierarchy of learning fails young people
“The Education Minister claims to seek consensus but by unilaterally re-imposing state sponsorship for an outdated method of transfer, he is replicating the failure of successive Sinn Féin Ministers to find accord
“Our first priority must be ensuring that our children receive the highest quality education, regardless of who they are or where they’re from. The truth of the matter is that today’s announcement means that many children will lose the benefit of a broad and rich education in their formative years in favour of high pressure exam coaching and endless mock tests.
“Reinstating a misguided hierarchy of learning is a mistake. The Minister’s blind fixation with Grammar schools as the highest aspiration that children and parents should have is not only damaging, it fundamentally degrades and undermines the first class education available in non-selective schools.
“Transfer is an issue which requires a consensus-based approach. The SDLP does not support academic selection but the current impasse cannot continue. We have called for a time bound Cross Party Commission to explore options for future transfer and to resolve this situation. For too long, successive Education Ministers have gone on solo runs on this issue. Ultimately, it continues to be our children and young people who suffer most.”