Speaking after proposals were discussed at an Alliance Party Council meeting Belfast, the Lagan Valley Assembly member stated: “It is clear that the Alliance Party has come forward with the best pathway towards an education system which meets the needs of every child.
“By boosting education based on the skills required by modern industry and using ‘learning communities’ of schools working together, we can reach a situation where grammar schools continue to provide high-quality education but academic selection becomes redundant.
“Furthermore, the path each child chooses, ideally at around 14 rather than 11 as is the case in most integrated schools, need not be an ‘all-or-nothing’. Vocational education does not mean 1950s-style woodwork classes, but delivering skills directly linked to bio-technology, financial services, renewable energy industries and such like.
“By doing this, vocational education will offer a direct pathway to high-wage, high-technology jobs and will become the first choice for many parents. We have accepted this is not going to happen overnight, but we are convinced that our education system can do a lot better for the vast majority of pupils by accepting the need for reform and bringing academic selection to a natural end.”