Ruane Challenges Selection 'Old Guard'

There will be no block to the ending of academic selection in the North.

That's been reinforced by the Stormont Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, who has addressed the Irish National Teachers' Organisation's Annual Conference in Galway.

She said: "We must get rid of an outdated and unfair system as part of a carefully thought out equality agenda," she said.

"Despite attempts by the 'old guard' to block change and maintain a system that clearly discriminates against some children, I am determined that change will happen for the benefit of all in our schools.

"The landscape is changing and will continue to change," she told delegates.

"The new transfer procedures are in place and will remain in place. We have moved on and will continue to move forward," she insisted.

The Minister said: "Both north and south, the development of skills in our young people is recognised as a key priority.

"Our world is changing and developing faster than ever before. Schools are educating young people to solve problems we do not yet know about and pupils are required to possess skills for jobs that do not yet exist.

"This is why it is our responsibility to ensure we have an equality-based education system in place that enables each and every child to reach their full potential.

"I have been working to bring forward a number of key reforms including the ending of state sponsored academic selection.

"This old system was outdated and not capable of meeting the educational needs of young people in the 21st century. My aim is to end the academic selection and also rejection of children.

"I look forward to working with Tánaiste Mary Coughlan in her role as Minister for Education and Skills. Together we must ensure our children are prepared for the future.

"I know that I share one of the key aims of all the members of INTO, which is to promote the interests of education and in doing so strive to raise educational standards for all.

"On a daily basis, teachers and school staff are making an enormous contribution in working to reach this goal and for that I would like to thank them," the Sinn Fein Minister concluded.


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