Trevor Lunn MLA said: “This debate offers the Education Minister the chance to make a positive announcement on progress regarding ESA. The time is right to move forward with these plans.
“Recently it appeared that progress could be made. After the election the First Minister voiced his support and recently the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, told the Education Committee that he was prepared to proceed with a Bill subject to reasonable assurances from the parties that it would not be blocked; however, we have still not seen any concrete proposals coming forward.
“Moving forward with the Education and Skills Authority will help deliver very significant savings and help improve governance in our education system.
“Much preparatory work has been done on creating ESA and it would be disgraceful if this work were to be lost. This debate will also enable parties to outline what, if any, remaining problems they have with the legislation.
“I have been campaigning for a long time to have the implementation of ESA and now, given the opportunity this motion provides, would be a perfect time to announce progress on this. This issue is very important as regards making our education system run as effectively as possible. We must not let an opportunity like this slip away.
“ESA is essential for education and it is vital that politicians make it happen. In all aspects of politics, if there is an option that will help deliver an improved strategic vision while also saving precious public money, then politicians must progress it.
“What I am really hoping for in this debate is for all parties to demonstrate unity of purpose and for the Education Minister to announce that we can proceed with ESA as of now.”
NOTES TO EDITORS Here is the motion which will be debated in the Assembly tomorrow:
Motion: Education and Skills Authority
That this Assembly calls on the Minister of Education to bring forward legislation to establish the Education and Skills Authority within this Assembly session.
Mr T Lunn Ms A Lo Mr C Lyttle Mrs J Cochrane