Lunn: The DUP and integrated education was more rhetoric than reality

Alliance Education spokesperson Trevor Lunn MLA has hit back at the DUP after the Party turned its back on integrated education.

Speaking after DUP Leader Peter Robinson endorsed his Party’s new education policy, the MLA for Lagan Valley said the Party’s u-turn proved the DUP’s support for the integrated sector has always been based more on rhetoric than reality.

Trevor Lunn MLA said: “It is hard to escape the impression that the DUP is not committed to the value and principles of educating our children together in an integrated setting.

“On Monday the Assembly will debate the proposed establishment of a secondary Irish medium school in Dungiven and the DUP has added an amendment calling on the Minister to “end the statutory advantage that some sectors enjoy” – DUP speak for “stop funding Integrated or Irish medium in any way which encourages their growth”.

“This after putting the same obligation on the new Education authority to facilitate and encourage shared education.

“My impression is that the other Parties are prepared to support the growth of the Integrated sector, but the DUP and CCMS – strange bedfellows indeed – are not, with the DUP in particular running with Sharing as a means of demonstrating a commitment which really does not exist and hence no mention in their document.

“This is not to say that shared education partnerships have no merit and there is considerable benefit in educational outcomes, but little evidence so far of societal benefit.

“The Stormont House agreement commits £500m over 10 years to shared and integrated projects and I hope that there will be an equitable distribution of this fund, it will certainly provide evidence over those years of Parties bona fides, especially the DUP, in this vital area of policy.”

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