19 Nov

O’Dowd welcomes an additional £15million for Education

Education Minister John O’Dowd has welcomed an additional £15million in his budget as a result of the November monitoring round.

The Minister said: “Across the education sector, we continue to deal with a very challenging budget situation.

“This additional £15million in year allocation will be spent as follows: £5million on schools maintenance; £5million on special education and £5million to fund the drawdown of schools surpluses. (more…)

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6 Nov

Shared Education Bill can enhance educational experience

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Chris Hazzard has welcomed the introduction of the Shared Education Bill at the Assembly today

Mr Hazzard said,“It is important that schools provide an environment where children from different religious and socio-economic backgrounds can come together to learn from each others experiences. (more…)

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6 Nov

Weir Defends Parental Choice and Right to Academic Selection in Assembly Debate

Commenting after an Assembly debate today on the post-primary transfer process DUP Education spokesman and Chair of the Education Committee Peter Weir said,

“The DUP has always supported the principle of parental choice and the legal right of schools to use academic selection for post primary admissions. That is why we secured in law the right of schools to admit by academic selection when others had left the issue in jeopardy. Whilst we believe that a regulated system for transfer would be preferable, and have no problems with discussions on the matter, it must be on the clear basis of the legal right to academic selection being recognised and respected. (more…)

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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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