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SDLP Speak Out On Education Issues
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Rogers Says Educational Opportunity Missed

SDLP South Down education spokesperson Seán Rogers  said the Education Bill should have been the vehicle to once and for all sort out the Transfer saga. He was speaking during the Second Stage debate on the Education Bill at Stormont on Monday.

Mr Rogers said the lack of mention to transfer at 11 in the bill meant that an opportunity was missed.  He added whilst the SDLP supports the bill, much work needed to be done. “It’s quite ironic that in a major debate on the future of education in Northern Ireland, there is no mention in the bill of transfer at aged 11. This is a missed opportunity to once and for all sort out the mess of transfer and this bill should have been the vehicle for it.

“The SDLP supports this bill in principle but a lot of work is needed at Committee Stage. Ten years after the scrapping of the 11 plus, we are in a worse mess. Whatever about selection, ESA acknowledges the educational and financial case for change.

“Today schools get three circulars where one would do; less and less money goes to the classroom; a half-baked area plan report; a culture of constant change; INCAS out, new assessment method rushed in; GCSEs out, EBAC in; our school estate crumbling and millions spent on ESA and nothing to show for it.

“We must never lose sight of the three most important groups in this whole education debate are the pupils, parents and teachers. It is important to recognise what this bill is about is enshrined in giving our children the best start in life.

“There are many groups out there concerned about the bill including the Catholic bishops, voluntary schools, integrated sector and Irish medium, I will bring their concerns today and every day as we discuss the Bill in committee.

“As we move this bill forward the underlying principle must be parents have the choice to send their children to the school that best meet their children’s needs,” added Mr Rogers.

 

Boyle Welcomes Teaching Jobs Boost

DOWN District Councillor Carmel O’Boyle, the SDLP’s local Down Dostrict spokesperson on education, has spoken out following the announcement of £26million by the NI Executive to link graduate teachers with jobs at both primary and secondary school level.

Councillor O’Boyle said: “In such tough economic times, it is great to see such an excellent scheme to promote the creation of more than 230 jobs.

“The scheme will provide two-year contracts for 150 recently graduated teachers, who have been unable to find permanent work in English and Maths at secondary level.

“Another 80 jobs will be available for recent graduate teachers at primary level. There will be a particular focus on helping children struggling with basic numeracy and literacy.

“In the current climate it is very difficult to find employment even with a high standard of education so it is vitally important that no child now falls through the cracks – every child must get all the support they require to fulfil their potential So for the Government to provide this additional support for struggling children whilst giving the economy a boost by creating jobs is fantastic news.”

This scheme will provide 230 young unemployed teachers with an opportunity to get teaching experience while contributing to raising educational achievement.

“Funding has also been made available to set up 20 new children’s “nurture units” in addition to the seven already being rolled out across all areas. These nurture units offer support, help and guidance to targeted pupils within the school environment,” added Councillor O’Boyle.