Clarke comments on Shared Education report
Alliance Party South Down spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke has commented on the Shared Education report by the Ministerial Advisory Group.
Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke stated, “Whether it is shared or integrated education, contact between pupils from different traditions is key.The sharing of buildings won’t help, it is the sharing of educational experiences that will help break down divisions.
“While the sections on academic selection are very well thought out and which I agree with, the report fails to adequately define the different levels or types of shared education. The sharing of a canteen facility with separate lunch hours will not achieve as much as the sharing of classes that take place daily.
“I am concerned by their lack of support of for the integrated sector. I would be worried that the recommendations for the promotion of shared education could come at the detriment of the integrated sector. The report says that we should increase the level of contact, however the only model for doing that at the minute is integrated.
Clarke added, “The Alliance Party has been able to promote the integrated sector while also supporting parental choice. This report fails to acknowledge that you can do both. There is actually parental choice for their children to attend integrated schools that is not being respected by the failure to grow this sector.”