Northern Ireland news

11-plus cancellation `not my call' says Peter Weir

Unregulated 11-plus-style exams are scheduled to take place in November

THE education minister has dismissed demands to cancel 11-plus exams - reminding people he has no control over them.

Peter Weir told the assembly that neither he, nor the Department of Education, had any influence.

There has been no state involvement in transfer tests for a decade. Grammar school entrance exams are instead run by two private organisations.

The Association for Quality Education (AQE), which operates one of the exams, has said "schools, parents and pupils should continue to prepare for the assessments in the home environment".

Mr Weir was asked by Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong if he would consider cancelling the 11-plus, in the same way he called off GCSEs and A-levels.

She added that while some pupils were still be prepared for the tests, the children of key workers were not as their parents were not at home.

Mr Weir, who is a supporter of academic selection, said he did not intend to bring any legislation forward.

"The examinations themselves are offered by two private organisations. From that point of view I have, and indeed the department has, no control over those," he said.

"The extent to which I could prevent a private organisation doing a particular thing would be questionable. They are normally scheduled for November. It is up to them whether or not it will happen on the same timescale or not.

"The AQE and PPTC (Post Primary Transfer Consortium) have got ownership of those tests and I don't believe it is my place to try to abolish those. We will not be in a perfect position on this issue, but I don't intend to bring forward legislation to abolish, even on a temporary basis, academic selection."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news