Northern Ireland

Academic selection report referenced unpublished book

Professor Tony Gallagher
Image caption Professor Tony Gallagher is a pro vice chancellor at Queen's.

Queen's University Belfast has said a senior academic was wrong to include a reference, in a report on academic selection, to a book that was never published.

Prof Tony Gallagher is a pro vice-chancellor at Queen's.

He was was joint author of a report published in September 2000 by the Department of Education: The Effects of the Selective System of Secondary Education in Northern Ireland.

In it, he references a paper: Grouping Pupils by Ability, which was cited as being published as part of a book called Educational and Legal Aspects of Selection in Schools.

Following a complaint by the former UK Unionist party MP Robert McCartney, Queen's University investigated and agreed there was one incorrect reference.

The university has said appropriate actions were taken internally.

It is understood two other papers intended for the book were published elsewhere and therefore the planned book was no longer viable.

A story in the Times Higher Education newspaper quotes a claim by Mr McCartney, who is a strong supporter of academic selection, saying the report was influential in the decision to abolish the official transfer tests.

The Department of Education has said it is unable to provide a statement on Thursday regarding how influential the full report - The Effects of the Selective System of Secondary Education in Northern Ireland - was in determining the abolition of the 11-plus examination system.

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