‘Early Years Strategy essential to children’s future’ – Rogers

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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
SDLP Education Spokesperson Seán Rogers has said that investment in a long term early year’s strategy is vital to improving standards and redressing the imbalance that exists in the education system.

SDLP MLA Sean Rogers

Speaking during a debate in the Assembly recently on the Spring Supplementary Estimates, Rogers said, “The SDLP have consistently argued against the way in which the current financial arrangements are being managed. “The Spring Supplementary Estimates provide a welcome opportunity to assess the areas of need in our Education system. Investment in a long-term early year’s strategy is essential if we are to create the building blocks for our children’s educational future. “Current funding arrangements favour education at secondary or third level rather than at an early stage of learning. We believe a child’s development hinges on a high quality early childhood education,” the SDLP MLA insisted. “The SDLP want to see a re-directing of funds towards early years learning, namely 0-6 years of age. Increasing investment at an early stage is essential to addressing poor rates of literacy and numeracy skills. “An Audit Office Report published in February 2013 pointed to the stark reality that thousands of young people in this region leave school not being able to read or write. While there have been some modest improvements in the levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy, Northern Ireland’s global education positioning in literacy and numeracy has been falling since 2006,” he revealed. “In 2010-11 9,000 pupils left full-time education after failing to reach the required standard in literacy and numeracy. We must do better and the Department must do better. The Minister must come forward with ambitious and creative plans to invest in a robust long term early year’s strategy that does not starve post primaries of much needed resources. Rogers added, “Not only is an effective early years plan right for the development of our young people but it will help improve our local economy in the long term. A well educated population can bring innovation, creativity and ingenuity to our local economy.”
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