Lyttle accuses Minister of being dismissive of leaked report

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has accused the Education Minister of being “dismissive” of a leaked document which reportedly recommended the end of academic selection here.

The Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation (Iliad) report was commissioned by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in March 2012. The three-year study was conducted by 10 experts from Queen’s University and Stranmillis University College.

A copy seen by the BBC in December 2015 confirmed the report stated ‘academic selection reinforces privilege and disadvantage’, with the ending of the current system seen as a ‘key way to reverse educational disadvantage’.

Mr Lyttle said the Minister’s refusal to consider the report exposed a “flawed approach” to the issue.

“At yesterday’s Education Committee meeting, I questioned the Minister on the Iliad Report, to which he confirmed he had not requested access to it. The Minister’s approach to academic selection is flawed and for him to be dismissive of such a major report by experts is disappointing.

“A report which appears to confirm access to the best education is ‘too often determined by socio-economic status’ should be treated with the respect it deserves. It certainly raises questions as to why the Minister has not considered this report in full.

“It also begs the serious question if the Iliad Report was sent to OFMDFM earlier this year, why has it not been released yet? Given the ongoing concerns with the lack of openness and transparency with the Executive, we need to know the answer.”

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