Conservative Response to Draft NI Education Order
Anti-Democratic Labour Government Plans for Education Attacked by NI Conservatives
[UKPRwire, Sat Mar 11 2006] The Conservatives today responded to the Department of Education’s Consultation relating to the Draft NI Education Order.
According to Jeffrey Peel, the local spokesperson on Education for the Party, “This Order is being put before parliament without the scrutiny, opportunity for amendment or debate that would normally be expected for such radical legislation. And it is being implemented against the will of the people. It is fundamentally anti-democratic.”
He continued, “Our submission makes clear that Northern Ireland’s children consistently out-perform their peers in England at GCSE and A-level – and a larger percentage of our children stay in full-time education beyond 17. Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of working class entrants to university of any UK region. While Grammar schools provide ladders of educational opportunity for all children – including the poorest – both Grammar and secondary schools perform well for our children across the board at GCSE and A Level because of specialised teaching staff at both types of school.”
“We also point out in our submission that many children opt-out of the current selection system at age 11. We do not see why children who choose to opt-in to the academic selection system should be denied their rights to attend a grammar school if they have the academic aptitude. The proposed system removes choice and it is wrong. Under the current system, children who want a mixed ability schooling experience can obtain one by opting out of the 11+. Why should children who want a specialised grammar school education be denied the right?”
“The Conservative submission argues that the removal of the ability of grammar schools to select based on academic aptitude will remove the fundamental ethos of the grammar schools – despite what the Department claims. The submission argues that many grammar schools will be massively over-subscribed if the proposed Order is passed. This will result in wealthier parents clustering around the best performing former grammar schools. Moreover, the Party claims that several of Northern Ireland’s best grammar schools will turn private if the proposed legislation is passed.”