Education change is likely under Peter Weir, but not wholesale

Education Minister Peter Weir with Elizabeth Huddleson, principal of Bangor Grammar School and pupils, Ewan McKenzie (left) and Conor Lusty (right) during a visit to the school. Picture by Michael Cooper 
Analysis by Simon Doyle

NOW that Sinn Féin has relinquished its grip on education, change is likely.

This change is unlikely, however, to be sudden or dramatic.

It appears that just as Caitríona Ruane told CCEA `stop setting an 11-plus', Peter Weir can tell the body `start setting an 11-plus'. CCEA, after all, is at the minister's beck and call.

Mr Weir will not simply unravel everything Sinn Féin did.

There may be a closer look at Irish-medium education, which the DUP claimed enjoyed preferential treatment - a claim dismissed as "nonsense".

The party also promised to abolish the `Catholic teacher training certificate' and wants to achieve "a fairer and better funding formula for schools".

Another largely non-issue that has been an issue for the DUP, and Mr Weir, is the whole 1-9 v A*-G GCSE grading saga.

The DUP said it would change GCSE grades to ensure the system was compatible with "the rest of the UK". It means England here. England is the only region to ditch A*-G. Wales and the north have kept letters while Scotland operates an entirely different system.

The head of the north's exams council has also rejected claims from grammar schools, and the DUP, that keeping A*-G grades will disadvantage young people applying for university places - places that are based in almost every case on A-level, not GCSE, results.


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