Wilson Comments on Minister’s Decision on the Future of Education

DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed a decision by the Education Minister to make a statement on the future of education in Northern Ireland. Commenting the DUP’s education spokesman said,

“The DUP has been pressing the Minister since she first came to office on this matter. A statement from the Minister is long overdue and will be welcomed by primary school principals across Northern Ireland who have been left in the dark for the last few months. I have been inundated by principals outlining that the uncertainty around post primary education was constraining them in carrying out their duties.

This statement should be definitive and should reflect the views of parents and teachers alike. The last thing we need on this subject is more ambiguity and a refusal to take cognisance of the views expressed to the Department on selection through a variety of mechanisms.

The DUP has been very clear in recognising that the transfer test is not ideal and should be reformed but we made it clear at St Andrews, and won a legislative change, that academic selection will be retained. Our approach to education is the envy of Great Britain and the Minister should ensure that any new system gives students the option to choose what school they attend. There should be an option for those of a more academic mindset and also for those of a more vocational mindset.

We want to work with the Minister to get an agreed way forward which can ensure that Northern Ireland continues to have an education system which is envied well beyond these shores. We must not get to a situation where change is being introduced for the sake of change. I trust that the Minister will give due consideration to her decision and will recognise that the education of children is much too important to be turned into a political football.”

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