The Lagan Valley MLA said: “It is important that as we undergo the radical shake-up which is required in our education system, we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“The transferors representatives wish to maintain the rights granted to them when they relinquished control of their schools, the same right as currently enjoyed by the Catholic Church to appoint up to four representatives to school boards. This does not mean four clergy, just four appointees.
“If these rights are to be retained by the maintained sector it is important in the interests of equality that the controlled sector is treated in the same way.
“Whatever the legal difficulties, and I appreciate that the ownership of schools have changed, a way must be found to preserve that contribution.
“There may well be a different discussion about the number of appointees required in the future, but it is not going to get any easier to find suitable people to serve on school boards. We should not be driving away good people who have made, and will continue to make a valuable input into our schools.”