Today is an historic day for the entirety of Northern Ireland following the passing of the Integrated Education Bill, Alliance’s Kellie Armstrong MLA has said.
The Strangford MLA was speaking after her Bill passed the Assembly 49 votes to 38, despite the DUP, TUV, UUP and one independent unionist voting against. The Bill, which will now go for Royal Assent, aims to reform and meet the growing demand for integrated education, giving it the same support as controlled and maintained schools, allowing for its promotion and provision.
“I believe in a shared society, where everyone is treated fairly and with respect. That’s why when the opportunity arose to support integrated education through a Private Member’s Bill, it was time for action to be taken,” said Ms Armstrong.
“Integrated education was enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement – it is part of our peace progress and a vehicle for change. It is not the panacea to fix all wrong with our education system or even with Northern Ireland itself, but, more young people growing up together and being educated together will help move us forward.
“It was disappointing some parties saw fit to vote against integrated education today. Things need to change to help integrated education grow and this Bill will help do that.
“But today is a historic day for the entirety of Northern Ireland following the passing of this Bill. No longer will integrated education have to rely on the whims and political position of the Education Minister of the day but rather parents and children who want to access integrated education will be able to do so, no matter where they live.”