Trevor Lunn MLA said: “This report has further confirmed what other reports and studies have found, that Protestant boys from poorer backgrounds are underachieving at school.
“There have been different historical causes for Protestant boys from poorer background not performing well at school. For instance, we must ensure that their parents are placing a greater importance on getting a good education.
“I also believe this group have been badly affected by post primary transfer tests. They have been poorly represented by Unionist politicians who continue to support selection tests.
“The role of paramilitaries in turning these young boys away from education requires further investigation.
“However, this report also showed that pupils entitled to free schools from all backgrounds were seriously underachieving. It is paramount that we do more to tackle the educational underachievement of pupils from all sections of our community.
“From speaking to teachers, their experience has shown the value of after school homework clubs in helping struggling pupils. However, if pupils are beginning their post primary education with poor literacy levels, then it will be difficult to improve their grades. We must therefore place more of an importance on early years education to give every pupil the best possible start to their education.”