Bengoa-style reform needed for education system, says Lyttle

Bengoa-style reform is needed for our education system, Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle has said.

East Belfast Alliance MLA Mr Lyttle said the current funding crisis faced by many schools meant teachers and resources were being put under immense pressure. He said the Bengoa Report, a Government-appointed panel led by international expert Professor Rafael Bengoa which made over a dozen recommendations last year on how to make our health service fit for the 21st Century, could provide the basis for a similar comprehensive review of the education system here.

“I have been inundated with contact from school principals, teachers and parents about the serious impact the school funding crisis is having on our children’s education. This includes excessive class sizes, reduced range of subject choices, inadequate Special Educational Needs assistance and poor building maintenance. The Department of Education Permanent Secretary has identified a funding gap of over £100 million, which the Education Authority CEO says will rise to £350 million within the next three years.

“There have been numerous independent reports and recommendations into the education system here but they have not been adequately implemented. It is now clear we need a comprehensive review of these recommendations and implementation of reform if we are to arrest the ongoing impact of this funding crisis on our schools.

“The CEO of the Education Authority has suggested in the absence of radical investment or reform, the education system in Northern Ireland will be unaffordable, socially immobile and unfit for purpose for the 21st Century.

“This should shock everyone in our society and be enough to mobilise public support and demand for the reform necessary to ensure our education system is structured and resourced in a way that allows all our schools to deliver high quality education for all children across Northern Ireland.”

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