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‘Commissioner report shows need for action and investment’ - Kelly

21 June, 2018 - by Catherine Kelly

Systemic failings in the education system highlighted by the Children’s Commissioner demonstrate the need for urgent action and investment, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children and Young People Catherine Kelly has said.

The West Tyrone MLA was speaking at the launch of a Children’s Commissioner report in Hazelwood integrated College today, which highlighted ‘systemic failures’ in a number of areas including education, poverty and mental health as well as the negative impact of Brexit.

Catherine Kelly commented: “This report has again highlighted the need for additional investment in our education system and direct interventions to improve educational attainment and to address the inequalities that still exist in the system.

“In particular, she references the failure to implement the 2016 recommendations made by the UN committee on the Rights of the Child. These recommendations identified the ongoing use of unregulated transfer tests by some schools as a key driver of inequality within education and called for them to be abolished.

“That needs to happen if we are to ever fully redress the long tail of underachievement that persists within our system. It is a damning indictment that some schools persist with this policy of rejection when report after report demonstrates that it is damaging to children. It needs to end.

“The Commissioner also identified a number of other areas which negatively impact on children and young people including Brexit, mental health, poverty and resources.

“Clearly there is a need for an end to the austerity policies imposed by London which are having such a damaging impact on public services like education. Outstanding Good Friday Agreement commitments such as the Bill of Rights should also be implemented to provide a statutory framework for the protection of young people’s entitlements.”

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