Trevor Lunn MLA said: “Alliance has always highlighted the divisions in our society, with our education system being the prime example of the physical separations in our community. To combat this, Alliance believes that there should be more integrated places with targets of 20% of pupils in integrated schools and 40% in mixed schools by 2020.
“What we want to see is that the provision of integrated education places meets the demand coming from parents. Year after year, most of the schools that are oversubscribed are integrated. This shows that the public are ahead of the Department of the Education on this issue.
“The public have shown that they wish to see movement from the Executive on a Shared Future, and see more work done to encourage community relations, so having more children educated in integrated schools would go a long towards this.
“While the Education Department does have a duty to facilitate the development of integrated education, this does not go far enough. They should have a duty to encourage integrated education.
“In November 2010, the Assembly passed an Alliance motion on this very issue, calling on the Education Minister to actively promote integrated and shared education.
“Alliance will continue to support parental choice and ensure they have the ability to send their children to the school of their choice, we believe that having more integrated places would not infringe that right.
“Encouraging integrated education would allow for more subjects to be taught and would help combat the problem of empty school places that would help the Education Department’s shortfalls in their budget.
“With the promise by the DUP and Sinn Fein that we will be seeing the new Education and Skills Authority to replace the different education boards to save money, I would encourage them to go further and actually encourage more integrated schools.”