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RPA acknowledges need to address unaccountable nature of educational bodies

24 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Michael Ferguson has welcomed the fact that the Review of Public Administration in respect to Education and the delivery of educational entitlement acknowledges the need to address unaccountable structures. However Sinn Fein do have a number of concerns about the need to scrutinise of the new working bodies recommended. (Single Authority, Dir. Children's Services, ETI integrating role, Statutory Advisory Forum & Network for Youth)

Mr Ferguson said:

"The Review will have a huge impact on human resources and so it is of the first importance that the trade unions concerned are intimately involved to address the terms and conditions of their members to limit any adverse impact.

"It is also important that the educational entitlement and ethos of children and parents is respected. Sinn Féin will scrutinise the role of the proposed Advisory Forum and, in consultation with the range of educational sectors from CCMS to Cnag, ensure that parental choice is defended.

"Sinn Féin have grave concerns with the notion that school funding should be related to performance levels and league tables because this would undermine even further an educational school system that is already suffering from historic under funding and a three year government budget programme that has led to the redundancy of over 500 non teaching staff alone.

"In addition the appalling condition of the school estate will not be helped by a procurement strategy driven by the Strategic Investment Board privatisation agenda.

"The delivery of a 21st Century Education system requires investment underpinned by an equality and human rights agenda that is based on addressing deprivation and poverty. This government has demonstrated no commitment to doing this and the changes required will only be guaranteed within the context of a functioning Assembly." ENDS

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