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Reform of education administration to go ahead - Ruane

20 July, 2007

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has said she is determined to press ahead with reform of the administration of education.

The Minister was speaking following a meeting of the Executive Committee, where she presented her plans for the Review of Public Administration (RPA) for education.

She said: "Education provides the cornerstone for the future prosperity of our society. Implementing the RPA will help to reduce bureaucracy and redirect resources to the frontline so children benefit in a real and practical way. This reform must be about giving each child the best start.

"The Executive has agreed that I should progress my proposal to establish the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) and have it operational by April 2009 at the latest. Staff, functions, assets and liabilities will be transferred from the Boards and the other education organisations to the ESA at that time. Further work will focus on area based planning, the structure of Boards of Governors and establishing the ESA as the single employing authority for all schools.

"It is essential that change starts now so that there is a smooth coming together of all the organisations and standards are maintained. I will be leading this transformation personally, ensuring that we involve the key people at all times.

"In drawing up my plans I have sought to ensure that there is adequate time for scrutiny of legislation by the Education Committee and the Assembly. I have written to MLAs, the Chairperson of the Education Committee and key stakeholders setting out my proposed approach.

"Staff employed in education are a key consideration for me and I will ensure they are kept fully informed. They will be central to successful implementation of the RPA proposals which, I believe, will deliver genuine improvements for staff, as well as all our children and young people." ENDS

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