Committee Calls For Extra Time For Post-Primary Consultation

Synopsis: The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education is urging the Minister to extend the consultation time available on proposed Departmental plans for the sustainability and viability of post-primary schools.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 25 September 2012

Reference: EDUC 02/12/13

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Education is urging the Minister to extend the consultation time available on proposed Departmental plans for the sustainability and viability of post-primary schools.

Education Committee Members have received feedback from many schools, parents and concerned organisations that the consultation time is too short; the process is too complicated and that plans are not consistent across different sectors and Education and Library Boards.

Committee Chairperson, Mervyn Storey MLA, said: "The Area Planning process is an extremely important issue and there is no room for ambiguity. As a Committee we are deeply concerned that the criteria used to measure performance and viability should be fair and understandable. There are many performance indicators for schools – not just exam results - which need to be taken into consideration. The Viability Audits appear to be based on a limited range of information, which is not detailed enough to base and inform changes to our schools."

Mr Storey continued, "The Committee has asked that the Minister for Education extends the consultation period for the post-primary consultation to ensure robust and appropriate consideration is given for such an important issue."

The Chairperson concluded, "The Committee is undertaking its own work to make certain that all key issues are scrutinised and examined. In order to gain further insight into the consultation process and Viability Audits, the Committee will meet with a group of stakeholders, including schools, at an event at Parliament Buildings tomorrow evening (Wednesday 26 September). I can assure any individual or group concerned that this matter is a top priority for the Committee and our scrutiny of these issues will continue."

End

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