Education Minister not planning on re-introducing state transfer test | The Transfer Test

Education Minister not planning on re-introducing state transfer test

Education Minister not planning on re-introducing state transfer test

Education minister Peter Weir has said he is not going to waste his time striving for an unachievable political deal that would bring back a state selection test, the Belfast Telegraph and ITV News have reported.

The DUP minister said he was realistic that he and Sinn Fein were not going to compromise on the issue of post primary transfer.

He said: "In an ideal world I would like to see a single test that was agreed by government."

"In that regard I am realistic enough to know that there won't be agreement politically over that, so consequentially I am not going to waste time trying to find a state test and get agreement across the different views that are there."

"I've enough problems in education without seeking another trench warfare on something there isn't going to be an automatic solution to."

Appearing before the Education Committee at Stormont, he said although it would be "legally do-able" it was pointless imposing a state test that could be scrapped if there was a ministerial change.

Mr Weir went on: "I think there is no point creating a situation where this becomes simply whether there is a test or whether there isn't a test - it becomes almost a political football in terms of who is in charge of education in that regard.”

The minister said such a scenario would create instability and uncertainty, with a "see saw" of test or no test depending which party was in charge of the education portfolio.

Single test?
Mr Weir added that it was his goal to see if the two exam bodies (the AQE & the PPTC) running the current tests could come together to produce a single test.

"That may or may not ultimately produce results but I want to at least give that a try," he said.

Last month, the minister granted permission for primary schools to use school time to prepare pupils to sit the tests. Previous Sinn Fein minister John O'Dowd had opposed such preparatory work.

Mr Weir said he was trying to create a more open system - claiming that many schools effectively ignored departmental guidance in the past.

"You had this element where schools sometimes were pretending not to do things but actually doing them and I think we are actually in a much more open situation (now)."

Sinn Féin, who previously held the education office and oppose academic selection, questioned the minister's decision.

Full Articles
Belfast Telegraph
ITV News