School Enhancement Programme welcome but radical education investment and reform urgently needed – Lyttle

Alliance East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle has welcomed the announcement of a £45 million School Enhancement Programme, but said that a root and branch review of education is necessary to address the wider issues.

Chris Lyttle, who is Alliance’s spokesperson on Education has just been appointed Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. He said: “The announcement of £45 million capital investment for the 18 schools in the School Enhancement Programme is a great start for the restored Assembly and Executive. Capital investment is urgently needed by many schools in Northern Ireland and whilst the School Enhancement Programme announcement is good news for the small number of recipient schools, radical investment and reform is needed if we are to deliver an integrated network of well resourced, fit for purpose schools.

“So, while I welcome the £45 million announced by Minister Weir, I believe a root and branch review of education is urgently needed to identify the issues and necessary solutions to ensure our education system is the best it can be.

“The New Approach proposals commit the Education Minister to urgently resolve the industrial dispute regarding fair pay and work conditions, deliver a new SEN framework, a Childcare Strategy and ensure that every school has a sustainable budget to deliver quality education for all.

“It is a privilege to have been appointed to the post of Chair of the Education Committee. Assembly Committees have an important role in scrutinising the work of Ministers and their Departments and ensure that government is working for them. This scrutiny of Departments was limited while the Assembly was not sitting, and in my role as Chair I will ensure my Committee will be thorough in carrying out its duties.”