The Lagan Valley MLA stated: “Behind the waffle, there is now a danger that the Education Minister’s proposals will serve only to further divide our young people. I will immediately be demanding clarity about what she means by ‘community criteria’, because to many people this will look suspiciously like Catholic schools for Catholics and Protestant schools for Protestants, regardless of the cost to society or to the economy.
“This concern is heightened by the fact that not once have we heard the Minister refer publicly or in policy documents to integrated education or to area-based planning. There are no plans to ensure children of different religious backgrounds are educated together, nor have we seen any detail on how educational choice is to be promoted, or how the value of vocational education is to be increased.
“With no money whatsoever set aside by the Executive in its budget for reform of the transfer system, how does the Minister propose to fund the changes she claims she intends to make?
“The Minister should stop blethering about ‘change’. The Alliance Party also supports ‘change’. But we cannot support her if her proposals serve only to further balkanise our young people, waste money on buildings rather than pupils, and result in nothing but a sectarian postcode lottery. That is a step backwards, not forwards.”