Dept. of Education ‘Needs to get act together’ says principal

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One local Primary School principal has called on the Department of Education to introduce one common entry examination for pupils until the controversy surrounding academic selection is resolved.

Currently primary 7 pupils must sit an entry examination for each grammar school at which they wish to enrol. Therefore, argues Model PS principal Paul Sheridan: “If parents wish to hedge their bets and apply to Foyle College and Thornhill for example, pupils must undertake two sets of tests comprising five examination papers. Pupils must also sit different examinations depending on which side of the traditional religious divide they come from.

“In order to minimise the toll these papers take on pupils I would say that until the matter is sorted out once and for all, because nothing has changed despite signs to the contrary, the Department of Education needs to get its act together.”

Though some of the Model PS 330 pupils sat the grammar school entry papers this past weekend, Mr. Sheridan explained: “We as a school don’t tutor for those examinations. We, indeed our Board of Governors, took the decision a few yeas ago not to coach for the test but to teach the curriculum.”

Mr. Sheridan, who has been head master of the Model PS for over six years stressed: “My main gripe with the post-primary entry exams is that there is a demand for it but the stress of studying and the exams falls mainly on the pupils.

“While we can all agree with parental choice and that an increasing number of parents are making the choice for the entry exam, therefore lets do what we can to minimise the stress on pupils. One examination instead of one per school would help in that respect.”