DENI Criticised Over Efforts To Reduce Number Of Empty School Places

The Department of Education (DENI) has been criticised over its efforts to reduce the number of empty places in local schools in a report by the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO).

Alliance Education spokesperson Trevor Lunn said it demonstrates the need for the development of more integrated education facilities.

The report also revealed the lack of leadership in post-primaries and the amount of small schools in Northern Ireland.

Mr Lunn said: "The growth in the number of empty desks since the Bain Review in 2006 is stark. Although it has been reducing, it is still well above the recommended level. It is clear there is still much to be done to provide a workable strategic plan for educational provision in Northern Ireland.

"It is clear we are in the midst of an educational crisis, one compounded by the Department of Education's mismanagement. The Minister needs to develop a proper strategy for tackling this, one that not only takes into account financial constraints and the quality of education, but also the vital role schools play in developing community cohesion.

"The most important factor in all of this is giving our children the best education possible."


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