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Dickson Speaks Out on the Transfer Process

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has spoken out on this year’s primary to secondary transfer process that has caused upset for children across the country.

Mr Dickson said: “I have received numerous emails and messages from concerned parents in the last few weeks. Each case is of course different, but what is apparent is that there are many families – no doubt across Northern Ireland – who feel a great sense of injustice as to how their children have fared throughout the transfer process.

“My thoughts are with all of those P7 pupils, and their families, who have been left distraught by the outcome of this process.”

Mr Dickson went on to explain how disappointed he was that the system has been so fraught with perceived unfairness as: “Alliance Education Spokesperson and Assembly Education Committee Chairperson, Chris Lyttle MLA, has been warning of the potential outcomes for children for over a year.

“Indeed the Assembly unanimously passed an Education Committee motion proposed by Chris Lyttle in November 2020, calling on the Education Minister to direct a Common Contingency Criteria for post primary admissions this year to mitigate the use of uncoordinated and un-recommended criteria which has foreseeably contributed to this outcome for many children, and yet no action was taken.

“With so many voices calling out the unfair system that causes inequity and trauma for children every year, it is so disheartening to see families in this position once again.”

Mr Dickson has called on the Department of Education, and any other relevant authorities, to: “Work together with all urgency to meet the needs of all unplaced children.”

He concluded by saying that: “Whilst I acknowledge that the Education Minister has only assumed her post this week, placements need to be looked at urgently, and it is increasingly clear that she must establish a Common Contingency Criteria to ensure children are not subjected to this flawed approach should transfer tests not be possible next year.”

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