Dickson plan schools given strong reminder

SCHOOLS in the area operating the Dickson Plan have had a shot fired across their bows by the education board.

Dickson Plan schools have been reminded that they are operating outside the guidelines of the Department of Education if they persist with a system that uses academic selection at 14.

The ‘MAIL’ is aware that schools in the local area operating within the two-tier system were sent a letter from the Department of Education last month which aimed to clarify the department’s position on post-primary transfer.

Dickson Plan schools have been told they are required by law to have regard to the department’s guidelines on post-primary transfer policy, but at this stage it appears schools are not being ordered to end academic selection.

Two weeks ago the ‘MAIL’ reported that plans to shake up post-primary education in Lurgan had been put on hold.

The letter dated September 29 from the Department of Education to schools within the Dickson Plan system suggests the department are fulfilling their legal duty by reminding schools of the guidelines on academic selection.

In the letter the Department of Education strongly recommended that senior high schools end the use of academic admissions criteria and if they were to persist with academic admissions criteria they should not ascribe any role to a junior high school.

The letter strongly recommended that junior high schools should not be reduced to a role where they serve the academic admissions process of senior high schools.

In layman’s terms, the Department have had a strong word in the ear of Dickson Plan schools, rather than issuing them with detention just yet.