Urgent need for radical investment and reform for education system, says Lyttle

There is an urgent need for radical investment and reform to address the financial crisis in education, Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said.

The Alliance Education spokesperson was speaking ahead of bringing a motion to the Assembly this Tuesday (March 10) calling for an independent review of the education system. It calls on the Education Minister to urgently implement the New Decade, New Approach commitment to such a review.

Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly’s Education Committee, said the focus of the review should be raising standards across the entire sector, granting access to the curriculum for all pupils and establishing an inclusive single education system.

“As MLAs, we are repeatedly inundated with messages from parents, teachers and principals, all of whom express concern about the growing pressures on our education system and as a result, our children and young people. That takes the shape of excessive class sizes, poor buildings, inadequate special needs provision and most pressingly, financial strain.

“The best way to address this is to invest in the education system and deliver a plan of strategic reform. The first step of that is a review, as outlined in the New Decade, New Approach deal. While we have seen numerous independent reports and recommendations before, none have been adequately implemented.

“If we are to arrest the ongoing impact of this financial crisis on our schools, a root and branch review, similar to that carried out by Professor Bengoa for the health sector, can provide the basis of the reform needed so we can deliver the high quality education all our children and young people deserve.”