Implementattion Of The Proposed Changes To The 11+

1598 words - 6 pages

Implementattion of The Proposed Changes to the 11+

Over the past year, there has been a considerable amount of media
interest in the proposals for the future of secondary education in
Northern Ireland made in the Post Primary Review body's report. This
issue has caused considerable friction in the wider community, with
support being both for and against the proposed changes. I intend to
consider the various views regarding this controversial issue before
making an evaluation.

The Post Primary Review body, under the leadership of Gerry Burns,
suggests removing the 11+ examination-the selection test for children
in primary seven, which determines the type of school to which they
will transfer. Pupils currently in primary six could now be the last
to sit the test meaning that after 2002, Grammar schools would no
longer be permitted to choose pupils on academic grounds. Instead a
pupil profile would follow a child's progress, helping parents to
choose the most suitable post-primary school for their child. Northern
Ireland would be divided into twenty areas, and in each area, all
schools would be grouped together in a "Collegiate System", and pupils
could easily move between them. The Post Primary Review body
recommends that the Collegiate System would include all types of
schools, whether Catholic or Protestant, but each school would retain
its independence.

I will first consider the various views raised by concerned parties
who are against the current system, and who are for the implementation
of the issues raised by the Post Primary Review body. One such view is
that there is too much pressure put on children and they are nervous
wrecks for months before their 11+ examinations. However, it would
have to be said that in most cases, it is the child's parent sand not
the pupil's Primary Seven teacher who would apply the pressure. Quite
often, the parents put undue pressure on the pupil to do well in order
that they will attend a Grammar school so that they do not have the
shame of admitting that their child is a "social failure".

Another issue, which has been raised, is that due to the 11+
examinations, primary six and seven teachers are unable to teach the
full curriculum and thus the focus has to be on practice papers.
However, although this is the case during the lead up to the
examination itself in October, it has to be remembered that the school
year does not finish until the end of June. Thus, any aspects of the
curriculum which are not covered during the lead up to the 11+
examination can be covered in the ensuing months after the
examination, as is currently done in more conscientious primary

However it has to be admitted that the 11+ examination is not a true
test of ability, as the children are trained to sit the examination.
Also, it could be said...

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