Armstrong: Integrated Education has been abandoned

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has accused the Secretary of State and Northern Ireland Office of abandoning integrated education, after he repeatedly avoided direct questions on the issue.

Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong, who was bringing a private members’ bill on integrated education before the collapse of the Executive, said her concerns were raised after James Brokenshire failed to mention the sector in a recent statement on budgets, before ignoring additional calls for clarification made by Alliance.

Kellie Armstrong MLA said: “In recent years it has taken a Judicial Review and the UK Government proactively providing ring-fenced money for the Department of Education and its successive Ministers to be alive to their statutory duty for Integrated Education.

“The Secretary of State appears to have deliberately omitted integrated education when discussing his budget statement, which was a direct replication of the terminology used in the Conservative-DUP agreement.

“Surveys consistently show more people wish they were able to access integrated education, yet the Conservatives appear to be deliberately omitting the term from their language and rolling back on previous support. If so, that is direct political interference and James Brokenshire needs to immediately explain why his Government is meddling in peace-building measures.”

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