13/05/2024

Every Child Deserves Access To An Integrated Education – Alliance

Every parent deserves access to an integrated education (IE) for their child, the Alliance party has said, calling for "much more" to be done by the Department of Education (DoE) in terms of delivering on pledges made around IE provision in the Integrated Education Act.

It comes following a meeting of the Assembly's Education Committee, which heard reports from the DoE about the excess demand for post-primary IE places over and above what supply is available in many areas of NI.

These reports also stated that there was not however "sufficient evidence" in those areas "to support the creation of integrated education provision by way of a new school".

Nick Mathison MLA, who chairs the Committee, has said: "Every parent deserves access to an integrated education for their child, whether that's at a primary or post-primary stage.
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"It is clear from evidence heard at Committee that much more needs to be done to deliver on the duties created by the Integrated Education Act, specifically around the introduction of robust procedures for measuring demand for IE, and measurable benchmarks for achieving adequate provision.

"Both of which are currently lacking in Department's action plan, and this needs to be urgently addressed."

Kate Nicholl MLA, who also sits on the Committee, added: "Integrated education has a crucial part to play in Northern Ireland's development as a post-conflict society trying to heal divisions and create a united community. It's concerning to see us in a state where it's not being prioritised enough as such.

"Following the withdrawal of Fresh Start funding from several integrated schools here, the Minister of Education needs to demonstrate that he is serious about delivering on the Integrated Education Act and his statutory duty to support IE.

"Every parent and child deserve access locally to an integrated education if they so choose it, regardless of where they live in NI. Alliance is committed to seeing the expansion of IE provision and will continue engaging with the Minister and the Department on this."


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