Trevor Lunn MLA said: “An Education and Skills Authority should have been introduced in the lifetime of the last Assembly to help deliver value for money and improve strategic decision-making in education. It was however not, and this was a massive missed opportunity. Alliance will continue to apply pressure on all the other parties to ensure the delivery of ESA early in this Assembly term. Money was spent on its anticipated implementation but the process stalled due to political disagreements which should have been resolved at the time. I call on all parties to commit to implementing ESA in this Assembly term.
“The fact that the Western and Southern Education Boards have saved £1 million through collaboration demonstrates the potential savings which can be made from the full implementation of ESA. If these Boards can work together, it is about time that all politicians support ESA
“The educational future of our children has suffered enough due to political wrangling on transfer – we cannot let the potential ESA holds be lost in the mire of political games.
“The failure to move forward with ESA represents a real political failure. Alliance is committed to delivering solutions in these times of austerity, and we have long supported ESA, not only on efficiency grounds but also from an educational governance perspective.
“ESA would enable us to have enhanced strategic planning in education and I believe that is vital if we are to transform our education system to deliver more sharing and integration. ESA is the future in terms of value for money and improved and more coherent planning. We will work to ensure there is no more stalemate on this important issue.”