Education Minister attends opening of new St Dominic’s High School
Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has welcomed the new accommodation provided for St Dominic’s High School, Belfast.
The Minister was speaking at the official opening, which was performed by President Mary McAleese. Minister Ruane said: “This new accommodation for St Dominic’s is an example of what can be achieved with vision, foresight and hard work. It provides a wonderful environment in which the pupils can learn and prepare for their futures. I wish everyone associated with the school every success in their education and chosen careers.
“This school and the community it serves have the right to modern, educational facilities and are absolutely entitled to the allocated funding. As Education Minister, I recognise and defend that right. However, the right to draw down large amounts of public investment carries with it responsibilities, including the responsibility to play a full and willing part in meeting the needs of all children in this community, not just the academically gifted and able.
"The Catholic Bishops have made clear their commitment to the ending of academic selection. Academic selection is a failed system, socially and educationally. It creates and sustains injustice and inequality. It is fundamentally immoral. It has no place in a modern, progressive and enlightened society. In truth, state sponsored academic selection was in fact, academic rejection for the majority of our children. Who can credibly defend or be part of a system that condemns the majority of our children as failures?
“As educationalists, we must reject absolutely and irreversibly the notion that any child is a failure. I would encourage everyone involved in the education of our children to adopt modern approaches which mirror the magnificent, new and modern facilities that we are here today to celebrate.
"All our children have individual strengths, abilities and talents which need to be encouraged and developed. All children must be cherished equally.
“St Dominic’s High School is now fully equipped to enable it to deliver the curriculum and meet the needs of its pupils for many years to come. Over recent years St Dominic’s and many other schools have received enormous amounts of public money. There can be no doubt that we are now in a very difficult financial climate. I and my Executive colleagues will face difficult decisions over the coming months and years.
“My priority will be to protect front-line services as far as possible and to continue with the schools modernisation programme in a situation where we do not know what resources will be available in coming years. I will continue to press the case for much needed capital investment that is required to modernise the schools estate.”