Schools should end ‘damaging’ tests – Mullan

Schools should end the use of transfer tests following the latest report showing that they are damaging children’s mental health, Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has said.

The party’s Education spokesperson was commenting after the report from the Right to Education (R2E) group, facilitated by Participation and the Practice of Rights, found that 92 percent of teachers felt that transfer testing had a ‘significant negative impact’ on the mental health of children. It also concluded that the current use of unregulated tests by some schools ‘shows wanton disregard to children’s needs’.

Karen Mullan said: “This report is the latest in a long line of studies which have exposed the cruel and damaging impact of academic selection on children.

“The evidence couldn’t be clearer which is why the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Equality Commission, the Human Rights Commission, Children’s Commissioner, the OECD, the trade union movement and the Catholic Church hierarchy have all called for an end to academic selection.

“Unfortunately, many schools continue to select and reject children based on an unregulated test system.

“That needs to end. It is damaging for children and damaging for the education system.

“In light of this latest study, school board of governors should now show leadership and end the use of transfer tests in favour of building a fully inclusive and non-selective education system for the betterment of all our young people.”