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DUP must back Education Minister in tackling under achievement in working class areas

3 April, 2014 - by Chris Hazzard


 Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has said that if we are to address the issue of educational under achievement in working class areas then the DUP must support the Minister in creating equality in education.

 Mr Hazzard said,

 “While the latest report highlights that academic attainment within working class Protestant boys is very low, the fact is that all children from deprived backgrounds have a much reduced chance of doing well in school.

 “The link between poverty and poor educational attainment must be broken and the Minister John O’Dowd has been implementing a strategy that will address under achievement and create equality within education

 "However, rather than support the Minister in those efforts, the DUP have consistently sought to frustrate progress in order to defend the interests of a small number of 'elite' grammar schools.

 “When the Minister reformed the schools funding formula in order to help break the link between poverty and poor attainment, the DUP threatened to take him to Court.

 “The DUP continue to support the use of unregulated transfer tests despite the fact that they entrench inequality by discriminating against disadvantaged children and benefit grammar schools at the expense of non-selective schools.

 “The establishment of the Education and Skills Authority would have freed up much needed resources for frontline education. But again this was resisted by the DUP in order to defend selfish interests. 

 “Time and again the DUP have failed to represent the needs of those schools which are serving Protestant working class areas and this report shows how young people are suffering as a result.

 “However, Sinn Fein will continue to tackle inequality wherever it exists. We will represent the needs of all children, and it is time that the DUP showed similar leadership and supported the Minister in his efforts to do so.”

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