The Lagan Valley MLA stated: “I am very glad that our motion is giving the Assembly the chance to discuss integrated education. The debate allows us to discuss the criteria for setting up an integrated school. This will hopefully let us make it easier to set up such schools and meet the high demand for integrated places.
“Integrated education ensures that people from all backgrounds grow up together, and it helps enormously in ending prejudice in Northern Ireland. However, the good relations aspect of this type of education is not its only advantage, there are massive financial benefits too.
“Segregation costs Northern Ireland £1 billion every year. We currently waste a massive amount of money of this money as a result of our divided schools system. Why should there be two schools, a ‘Protestant’ one and a ‘Catholic’ one in each small town, when we could replace them with one integrated school, and save money?
“Demand is outstripping supply in integrated education places, so more places must be created. Integrated education is an important issue for the whole community and I am happy to see placed prominently on the political agenda next week.