AQE See Sense At Last

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has welcomed the decision yesterday by the Association of Quality Education to finally cancel the proposed selection test on 27 February 2021.

Mark McTaggart, INTO Assistant Northern Secretary said:

“AQE have at last seen sense. The continued uncertainty, following the on off on off ‘hokey-cokey’ performed by AQE in recent weeks has done nothing to help the situation, and has placed unnecessary strain on the children due to sit the test, their parents and the teachers, which will potentially have had a detrimental effect on their mental health.

This has been exacerbated by the failings of the Minister of Education to take charge of the situation, his continued inaction, and that of the Stormont Executive in allowing it to continue, with some parties willing to weaponize the issue, demonstrating little regard for those children and families that it effected most.”

Mr McTaggart continued:

“INTO congratulates those post-primary schools that were far sighted enough in putting children first, and taking the decision in the summer term, not to proceed with academic selection, and to develop alternative criteria for the selection of their Year 8 intake for September 2021.

Any attempt by the grammar school sector to request principals and teachers in primary school to produce school-based assessments to be used as a method of facilitating academic selection by the back door will be resisted by INTO. The Record of Achievement is the only profiling information that is required to be sent from the primary school to the receiving post-primary school when a pupil transitions between these settings. It will continue to be given to Year 7 pupils at the end of the summer term.”

Mr McTaggart concluded:

“The decision to not test the Year 7 pupils in January and February this year, and to draw up alternative criteria for the transition of pupils is the correct one and paves the way for the necessary discussion on the manner in which all children transition from the primary sector to the post-primary sector.

INTO is up for that discussion, there is, we believe a better, fairer way to manage this process than the current system of academic selection.”