‘Cohesive Area Based Plan needed for Education system’- Rogers

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Monday, June 1st, 2015
Politics
SDLP MLA Sean Rogers has called on the Education Minister to implement the recommendations of the Area Based Planning Report. rogers9Speaking in the Assembly Chamber, Rogers highlighted the need to counter the increasing culture of competition between schools, develop cross-border co-operation and implement a cohesive strategic plan for education in the North. He said, “I would call on the Minister to take careful heed of this report and to implement its recommendations. With the Education Authority now in place, it is vital that we get area based planning right. “It is time we have one cohesive and strategic plan in place, a plan that takes account of our unique educational landscape across the North. “What was quite evident was the lack of transparency and the real mistrust felt by parents, schools and other stakeholders around this. They do not feel confident and the Department is in danger of promoting a culture of competition with schools trying to out-do, rather than complement one another. “Area planning will not succeed if schools are operating in a climate of suspicion and this is something that the Department must address,” he continued. “As it stands, we are left with the situation where a school in Lisburn must satisfy a different set of sustainability criteria from a school down the road in Belfast. “Rural primary schools are expected to have more than 105 pupils and schools in Belfast and Derry are expected to have no less than 140. Whilst, certainly, the number of pupils is important to take into consideration, no satisfactory explanation has been given on the rationale behind these figures. Rogers added, “Education is the building blocks of an individual’s life and of our economy and every single child should have access to the highest quality education possible. A quality education should not be in the luck of the draw.”

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