‘Education reform key to unlocking economic potential’ – Rogers

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Sunday, November 11th, 2012
SDLP South Down MLA and Education Spokesperson Sean Rogers has called for real and meaningful changes to be made to the Education system. Mr Rogers was speaking during the SDLP conference in Armagh. He said: “If we are to rebuild our economy then our education system must become A*. Children need an A* education system that unlocks the door to opportunity and sets them up for life. “Parents need an A* system that works for them, not against them – every parent wants the best for their child , but many parents, especially those who have children  with SEN have to fight every step of the way to get the appropriate support for their child.” Rogers continued, “Parents need to be able to exercise parental choice where possible – let it be all-ability, Irish Medium, Integrated or Grammar. The needs of our children and young people with severe learning difficulties need a creative and compassionate approach. “Only when we have Parents and Schools working together will children realise their true potential. Most crucially we need an Education Department and a Minister who wants to tackle the difficult issues around education reform. “Our children must be given support, by professional personnel to reach the highest standards in Literacy and Numeracy,” Rogers continued, “Our immediate problems must be addressed on three fronts Preschool, Primary and Post –primary. “Computer Based Assessment in Primary Schools has proved extremely difficult to use. In the words of one Principal I have spoken to recently– ‘I cannot emphasize enough the unnecessary stress these meaningless tests have caused in school and the utter waste of money they have been’. “Computer based assessment are often hindering pupils rather than assisting pupils in assessment. They must enhance learning not be a distraction.” “The dithering around academic selection is also adversely affecting our young people. I am extremely disappointed that while Sinn Fein pays lip service to ending academic selection it appears to have been forgotten about. He added, “In fact Sinn Fein and the DUP have created a chaotic Vacuum of unregulated tests which are arguably worse than the eleven plus.” “We should strive to get the best out of our young people by providing them with appropriate support so that they can fulfill their academic potential when assessed. A well-educated set of young people have the ability to enhance and rejuvenate our economy.”
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