At the same time as Arlene Foster and her DUP has committed itself to a ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy, Peter Weir, her latest chair of the Education Committee, suggested that the party might return the transfer test to CCEA control.
Have the DUP forgotten that the current AQE test was written precisely to address shortcomings – such as unacceptable high pupil misclassification rate – in the old CCEA test?
More worrying for the coherence of DUP education policy and for voters interested in addressing disadvantage is the remarkably high proportion of children on free school meals (FSM) qualifying for grammar school places under the current AQE tests.
A remarkable consequence of the unregulated transfer tests offered by AQE schools results in ALMOST HALF of AQE entrants eligible for FSM are meeting minimal standards for grammar school entry.
Handing the test back to CCEA, as proposed by the DUP, would see a dramatic reduction in this number.
In short, returning to a CCEA test would be entirely at odds with Arlene Foster’s claimed policy aim of leaving no child behind.
This contradiction should concern parents.
Arlene Foster and the DUP seem to have left their homework to the last minute.
Stephen Elliott, Chair, Parental Alliance for Choice in Education