The Education Minister insisted this week that the Higher Still programme was "well on course to meet the revised starting date of 1998", despite increasing resistance from education authorities, unions and headteachers.
Raymond Robertson said that to date Pounds 5 million had been spent on Higher Still and Pounds 2.1 million would be allocated to developing the new courses in 1996-97. A further Pounds 2.5 million had been earmarked for staff development.
The minister also announced that a second round of feasibility studies would be carried out in schools in the first half of this year. Mr Robertson acknowledged the concerns over staffing levels and multi-level teaching and pledged close consultations with teachers to ensure the final proposals were "realistic".