Integrated education plays a valuable role in our society - Archibald
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said integrated education plays a valuable role in our society and commended the work of the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) and Council for Integrated Education.
Speaking at the launch of IEF's Alternative Manifesto in Stormont the East Derry MLA said:
“Sinn Fein recognise the valuable role that integrated education plays in our society and I would like to commend IEF and Council for Integrated Education on their sterling work.
“The duty to encourage and facilitate integrated education was part of the Good Friday Agreement and successive Sinn Féin Ministers have sought to build on that as a crucial element of moving to a genuinely reconciled society.
“Education is key to achieving that and this Alternative Manifesto is an important contribution to the debate on how we shape our school system and develop our educational policy together for the benefit of children and wider society.
“We agree with the IEF that fundamental structural change is needed in our education system and in fact our Ministers fought and worked very hard to bring that about.
“Part of that change is ending selection and levelling the playing field for all our children. The late Martin McGuinness as Education Minister showed great leadership in abolishing the 11 plus to establish a transfer system based upon parental choice.
"Despite this, many schools continued to select and reject children based on an unregulated test system. That needs to end because the evidence is overwhelming that academic selection and rejection is damaging for children and for the education system.
“Sinn Féin has met with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and Chief Executive of the Education Authority in recent months to discuss transformation of the EA and present to them our thoughts on how it should be taken forward.
“It is important that we all, the Department of Education, the Education Authority, all sectoral bodies and all political parties, work together to overcome the many challenges facing education to provide the best educational outcomes for all our children.”