Lunn says Audit Office report shows need for more integrated education

Alliance Education spokesperson Trevor Lunn has said the number of empty places in local schools demonstrates the need for the development of more integrated educational facilities.

He was speaking after a Northern Ireland Audit Office report criticised the Department of Education, particularly its efforts to reduce the amount of empty places, as well as the lack of leadership in post-primaries and the amount of small schools in Northern Ireland.

Trevor Lunn MLA said: “The growth in the number of empty desks since the Bain Review in 2006 is stark. Although it has been reducing, it is still well above the recommended level. It is clear there is still much to be done to provide a workable strategic plan for educational provision in Northern Ireland.

“It is clear we are in the midst of an educational crisis, one compounded by the Department of Education’s mismanagement. The Minister needs to develop a proper strategy for tackling this, one that not only takes into account financial constraints and the quality of education, but also the vital role schools play in developing community cohesion.

“The most important factor in all of this is giving our children the best education possible. A shared future with the development of integrated schools that would maximise resources and facilities is in both their interest and that of the taxpayer.”

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