Ripon will have another opportunity to vote on selective education later this month.

The issue split the community last year, when opponents of the 11 Plus exam sparked the country's first formal ballot on the subject.

They were subsequently defeated and, today, selection remains despite an appeal which was dismissed by Education Secretary, David Blunkett.

However, resident and would-be Conservative councillor, Stanley Mackintosh, has since reopened the debate, demanding a parish poll on the destiny of Ripon Grammar's selection procedure.

And, because he won the support of more than ten electors at the city council's annual meeting last month, the borough's returning officer has confirmed a referendum on the subject will go ahead on Thursday, April 26.

An alternative to the 11 Plus is Mr Mackintosh's own Ripon Scheme, which would see selection for the city's Grammar School based on the results of Year 5 Standard Assessment Tests.

"If the result is that the county council listens to the voice of the people, then not only will democracy have triumphed, but there would be savings of at least £37,500 a year, presently wasted on flawed 11 Plus testing,'' said Mr Mackintosh yesterday.

However, Mayor of Ripon, Councillor Paul Freeman, is among those against the poll.

"It will make no difference to the education department; the whole thing is a waste of time and money, which could be better spent on other issues,'' he said.

The Ripon referendum on April 26, will be held between 4pm and 7pm, at the Town Hall.