As families are awaiting the results of transfer tests tomorrow, Ulster Unionist Education Spokesperson, Sandra Overend, candidate for Mid-Ulster, sends well wishes to all pupils and expresses her hope that a real solution can be found to the challenge of post-primary transfer.
Mrs Overend said:
“Our young people are both diverse and highly talented. We must begin to establish a system which brings out the best in all of our children. At the moment that is not the case. With some children achieving the best GCSE and A Level grades in the UK and others achieving the worst, we must admit that our system is broken in some way and seek to address it. I do not believe that anything so far has been done to address this issue in a real way. Neither is this issue only related to the issue of grammar vs non-grammar.
“Attacking the grammar system will not address the needs of those as the bottom end of the scale and we must stop doing this. And I am not simply saying that because I believe it will be a popular message. I believe in the ability of grammar schools to bring out the best in academically talented pupils. However, the method of selection does need addressing so that we are not asking how intelligent a pupil is, but how a pupil is intelligent.
“Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we must look to where pupils are struggling and commit to long term changes and targeted interventions. We know where the problems in our system lie, but no one is making the choice to change it. We must commit to adequately investing in our education system as a whole from pre-school to tertiary education – not just with money but also by making informed decisions about the way forward.”