4 Nov

Extract from Mike Nesbitt leader’s speech at the UUP Conference

If you believe, as I do, that every child is unique – that inside every child is a spark of ability, creativity and talent that may find its voice equally in the science laboratories, or the music room, or on the sports fields, or at the computer, then we must cherish all those talents and provide a curriculum that develops every scrap of talent in every child, and provides space for all to flourish.

The legacy of the decision to abolish the 11-Plus without an agreed way forward continues to poison education in Northern Ireland, as Sinn Féin remain fixated with the signs hanging over the entrance to schools. An Ulster Unionist Education Minister would refocus on the pupils and parents and teachers walking in and out of the door.

We want the Education Ministry. (more…)

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3 Nov

Overwhelming support as Children’s Bill becomes law

In a first for the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Steven Agnew MLA’s Children’s Bill was today, 3 November 2015, passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“I am overwhelmed at the support that the Children’s Bill has received,” Steven Agnew MLA said.

“The Children’s Bill is just the fifth private member’s bill to be passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly and it has been my privilege, as the only Green MLA, to successfully bring the legislation forward. (more…)

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3 Nov

Shared Education will be a key feature of our future education system – O’Dowd

Education Minister John O’Dowd today introduced the Shared Education Bill into the Assembly.

The Bill provides a legislative definition of Shared Education as involving those of different religious belief, including reasonable numbers of both Protestant and Roman Catholic children or young persons; and those who are experiencing socio-economic deprivation and those who are not.

The Bill also places a power on the Department and its arms length bodies to encourage and facilitate Shared Education and will also enact the duty on the Education Authority in relation to Shared Education as set out in the Education Act 2014.

Speaking after the Bill’s introduction, Minister O’Dowd said:

“This Bill will send a strong signal to the education sector and the wider community that Shared Education is a key feature of our education system going forward. I understand that for some, Shared Education is a new and evolving area. Good practice is still being developed however, the Bill will give the flexibility to encourage and build confidence on the benefits of Shared Education for both those in our education system and wider society.

“The case for Shared Education has been well established and this Bill and my Shared Education Policy published in September, have both been welcomed as an opportunity to build a more inclusive approach, at a pace communities are comfortable with. Many of my Assembly colleagues, like myself, believe that Shared Education must be part of the solution to promoting a culture of mutual understanding and I look forward to taking the Bill through to law before the end of this Assembly mandate.”




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9 Oct

O’Dowd welcomes Equality Commission report

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today welcomed a report by the Equality Commission on the key inequalities in education.

Minister O’Dowd said: “Tackling inequalities in education is an issue which I take very seriously. It cannot be solved quickly and while we have made some progress in recent years, this is a multi-faceted, societal issue and one the education authorities and schools cannot tackle on their own.

“Our primary school pupils perform exceptionally well compared with their peers around the world and at post-primary an increasing number of pupils are leaving school with at least five GCSEs A*-C or equivalent including English and maths, including those pupils who are entitled to free school meals. This is a positive picture but we need to ensure that the focus remains on improvement and equity because unfortunately gaps remain. (more…)

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2 Oct

Shared Education project impasse raises fundamental questions- Ulster Unionist Party

Ulster Unionist representatives have expressed their amazement that schools that have been approved for funding for Shared Education Signature Projects, have had their letters of offer withdrawn. St John’s and Moy Regional Primary School is one such application which is on hold because of an ongoing, province wide dispute between teacher unions and the Department over the reporting of pupil assessments. (more…)

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20 Aug

Academic selection infringes children’s human rights

Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Chris Hazzard has welcomed the call by the NI Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) to stop academic selection of children in schools.

Mr Hazzard said,

“I welcome the report to the United Nations by the NIHRC reiterating their call for all academic selection for children to be abolished. (more…)

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