Trevor Lunn MLA said: “We need to proceed with the formation of ESA as soon as possible. The creation of this body would provide us with a great opportunity to increase efficiency in education system and make savings without impacting on frontline services.
“Given that Northern Ireland is facing extremely difficult times in terms of public funding we need to look at areas where efficiency can be improved. It would be deeply negative if progress on ESA was thwarted because of political wrangling.
“In education in particular consensus must be built and solutions found, instead of politicians simply attacking each other. This is going to be a difficult year as regards balancing our public finances and every effort must be made to make savings where they can be found without the loss of any services. It would be wrong for politicians to allow their disagreements to stop ESA from being formed. We need to iron out problems quickly because there must be no further delay in this process.
“I believe that proceeding with ESA is the right thing to do and this also appears to be the view among many education professionals. Those involved in our education system need to have clarity on what is going to happen as regards this issue. I call on those who are unhappy with proposals to try and build consensus with the Minister and ensure that this important opportunity for reform is not lost.”