SDLP Education Spokesperson Seán Rogers has offered a guarded welcome to the news of progress on the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority but has said that impressive words must be translated into positive action.
Speaking after the news was announced, the South Down MLA said: “There is no doubt that reform in the administration of education is long overdue and progress on the ESA has been grievously stalled since it was first mooted, so obviously any movement towards its establishment is to be welcomed.
“However, I do not understand the timing of this statement, just a couple of weeks into the Assembly recess.
“The detail is sufficiently scant that I cannot see why the necessary agreement could not have been reached in advance of recess, allowing the Assembly and, in particular, the education committee to scrutinise early plans and feed in to their development.
“However, what’s done is done, but I shall be playing my part in giving due scrutiny to the plans when they come before the house in September, to make sure that it lives up to the ideals expressed by Gavin Boyd when he said ‘Modernisation of the system will ensure that millions of pounds spent on the administration of education is redirected to where it is needed most – classrooms and youth settings.’
“Only when those ideals are reached will we have an education authority that is worth the candle.
“Nevertheless, the journey towards that has started today, and that is something to be welcomed.”