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Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by whom policy on academic selection in Northern Ireland will be decided following the St Andrews talks in Scotland. (96149)

While the Government's clear view is that abolishing academic selection would be in the best interests of education and the economy in Northern Ireland, it has accepted that the final decision on this matter should rest with local political parties provided there is an early restoration of the Assembly.

The Government have decided that, provided the Northern Ireland political parties have endorsed the St. Andrews agreement by 10 November, it will amend the Education (NI) Order 2006 to reflect the revised target date of 26 March 2007 for restoration of the Assembly in order to provide for a restored Assembly to vote on the issue of academic selection.