Following the debate on the future of rural schools today, Alliance Education Spokesperson Trevor Lunn MLA expressed frustration at the failure of the DUP and UUP members present to support the Alliance amendment which merely sought to put on record that shared and integrated education could provide alternatives to school closures.
Trevor Lunn MLA said: “Given the recent statements in support of parental choice in this area particularly from the Leader of the DUP it is beyond belief that they should vote against our amendment.
“If we are to protect our rural school infrastructure, serious decisions will have to be made around sharing of facilities, the amalgamation of schools across sectors and if the integrated model, the transformation of existing schools to integrated status is the express wish of parents and the best way to maintain the viability of a school, that process must be encouraged and facilitated by the Boards and the Minister.
“Every time I think that we are making progress in this country, we seem to take a step back, and this is a good example of the type of hypocrisy which continues to blight our transition towards a more inclusive society.
“It was at least encouraging to receive support from the SDLP and Sinn Fein, and the Minister confirmed once again that he will support any viable proposition for integration, whether for a new school or transformation of an existing one. His positive attitude contrasts vividly with the negative approach of the DUP and UUP.”