Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin lead debate on Social Disadvantage and Educational Attainment

16 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the mature debate in the Transitional Assembly today on Social Disadvantage and Educational Attainment.

Speaking after the debate Mr McElduff said:

"The link between Social Disadvantage and Educational Attainment is well established, it is equally clear that we are failing far too many of our young people and in particular the failure of the 11+ and academic selection to tackle the problem of under attainment.

"In particular it is unbelievable that unionists continue to show such poor leadership and judgement in relation to their own community because academic selection is failing the communities they represent and nowhere is this more stark than in areas such as the Shankill in Belfast. Indeed across Belfast and indeed the north too many of our young people are leaving school without the basic literacy and numeracy skills they need.

"We need to recognise why and how the education system is failing those most in need and who are most vulnerable."

Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader added:

"We need to do more than have excellent debates in the Assembly Chamber. We need locally accountable ministers.

"We need to see the DUP commit to power-sharing so that we can give hope to our children that the link between poverty and social disadvantage and education attainment is broken." ENDS

Note to Editors

Motion - Social Disadvantage and Educational Attainment

Proposed: That this Assembly recognises the link between social disadvantage and educational attainment and recognises the sterling work of educationalists in addressing this situation; and further calls on an incoming Executive to develop a strategic approach to raising the attainment levels for the most disadvantaged in our society.

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