30th May 2020
Mr Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, has welcomed the decision of the Board Governors and the Principals of Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, Our Lady’s Grammar School, Sacred Heart Grammar School, St Colman’s College, Newry and St Louis’ Grammar School, Kilkeel, to suspend the use of academic selection as an entrance criteria for Year 8 pupils in September 2021.
Mr Murphy said:
“INTO welcomes the decision by these five schools, which will provide much needed clarity to local primary schools, pupils and parents, and removes the unnecessary burden associated with academic selection from the current Primary 6 cadre, their parents and their teachers.
This announcement will allow primary schools in the South Down area time for staff, parents and pupils to prepare properly for the challenges of returning to school in September. Removing this burden will allow additional time for the establishment of necessary, further supports for all pupils that are required after such a difficult break from “normal” schooling, rather than having to further plan to accommodate the demands of a profit driven commercial enterprise.”
Mr Murphy continued:
“INTO calls on the entire grammar sector to now follow the positive example of these five schools, and similarly amend their entrance criteria. This is the right thing to do. The South Down schools have created a space to put in place a new methodology for managing the transfer of our children from primary to post primary schools. Educationalists must come together now and ensure academic selection becomes a thing of the past, and all pupils have equity of opportunity, regardless of the socio-economic background that they hail from.”