Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Chris Hazzard has welcomed the confirmation from the Governor Board Association that they strongly back the legislation for the introduction of the Essential Skills Authority (ESA).
Mr Hazzard stated,
“I welcome the GBA's confirmation that they now strongly support the legislation for the introduction of ESA.
“The concerns of the GBA were a major stumbling block in securing agreement in the past but they were addressed by the compromise paper submitted by John O'Dowd several months ago. Indeed, there is now broad agreement within the education sectors that the ESA bill should precede without further delay so there is no longer any educational reason why that shouldn't happen.
“The implementation of ESA would be a major game changer and bring savings of up to £20 Million each year and at a time of stress on the Education budget we must look at ways of saving administration costs in order to protect frontline services.
“The education of our children is the most important factor in looking to advance the educational agenda and rationalising the regional Boards into one authority would make perfect sense.
“The savings would be made through better planning, better managing of the school estate and better cooperation across the present board areas.
“It is now crucial that all the Executive parties endorse the position taken by the vast majority of the Education community and endorse this policy so it can be implemented as soon as possible.”