‘Minister must account for failure to address school starting age flexibility’ – Rogers

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Thursday, April 30th, 2015
SDLP Education Spokesperson Seán Rogers MLA has called on Sinn Féin Education Minister John O’Dowd to urgently explain to the Education committee and to parents why he allowed the legislative timeline to introduce flexibility on the school starting age to expire. rogers9Rogers said, “I was absolutely disgusted to hear from departmental officials today that the Minister no longer believes he has the necessary time to prepare legislation to add flexibility to the school starting age. “This is not an issue that he has been taken surprise by, in fact it has been on the Department’s radar since 2008. “In January of this year, departmental officials told campaigners that their preparations were well advanced and that their timetable was manageable,” the SDLP MLA continued. “The Minister himself in October of last year said that he hoped arrangements would be in place for September 2016. This now begs the question, what has happened since then? “The simple fact is that if you live in the South or in Scotland, parents and their children would be guaranteed school starting age flexibility. There’s no doubt that this flexibility results in improved outcomes for many children. Rogers added, “Once again the Minister has mishandled the situation. He must now account for this and explain whether the result is down to incompetence or not taking the wishes of parents seriously.”
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