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Setting the record straight on Educational underachievement – Chris Hazzard MLA

15 January, 2013 - by Chris Hazzard

Speaking after oral questions to OFMdFM on Monday 14th January, Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MLA (South Down) has said that he wishes to set the record straight in regard to educational underachievement.Chris Hazzard said:Yesterday, First Minister, Peter Robinson in response to a question posed by myself responded that,

“I acknowledge that although it is clear statistically that there is a greater prevalence of educational underachievement among Protestant working-class boys, this is not an exclusively Protestant working-class issue”.

“The reality however, follows the old maxim of lies, damn lies and statistics.

“It is important therefore that if we are going to tackle problems that we understand exactly what they are and even more importantly we need to ensure that everyone in our society knows what the real problem is. Statistically Mr Robinson is wrong and must not be allowed to distort and use statistically incorrect rhetoric as an excuse for skewing money and resources into one particular community for political purposes.

So that everyone can easily understand the factual situation in regard to educational underachievement let us examine the official figures.

“For those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the most recent available data, 2010/11 shows that 450 Protestant boys entitled to Free School Mealsdid not achieve 5 GCSE’s A*-C whilst 888 Catholic boys entitled to Free School Meals did not achieve 5 GCSE’s A*-C covering the same period. Those are the facts!

“Therefore rather than attempting to draw a false picture to justify targeting children in one section of society – and by extension excluding other children – let us determine to address educational underachievement everywhere on the basis of need and equality.”

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