Unless new Executive formed, integrated education will suffer, says Armstrong

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said unless a new Executive is formed, a major report into integrated education risks being lost.

The report, entitled Integrating Education in Northern Ireland: Celebrating Inclusiveness and Fostering Innovation in our Schools, was completed in November but only released last Thursday, on Assembly election polling day.

Among its recommendations are prioritising the accommodation needs of existing integrated schools, funding those schools which want to transform to integrated, the employment of dedicated integrated staff by the Education Authority and the carrying over of any unspent Fresh Start capital funding into future financial years.

Ms Armstrong, who was in the process of bringing forward a Private Member’s Bill on integrated education before the collapse of the Assembly, said it was extremely disappointing the report had been released on polling day.

“The release of this report on the day it came was clearly an attempt by the outgoing Minister to bury the recommendations, many of which back the findings of the consultation into my Bill. It is particularly galling the Minister decided to use this approach during Integrated Education Month.

“Unless there is a new Executive formed in the near future and an Education Minister in place who decides to show more commitment to integrated education in general and also the recommendations of this report, then it risks being lost.

“Alliance remains committed to increasing integrated education – it is one of our asks before we would consider going back into the Executive and we will be holding a panel on the subject at our conference in a few weeks. It is time others stepped up and showed that same commitment to it.”

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