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Bain Report must ensure that the child is at the heart of the education system

4 December, 2006

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the publication of the Bain Review and said that it must ensure that the child is located at the heart of the education system. He particularly welcomed a number of key recommendations including the priority attached to quality and breadth of education over financial issues.

Mr McElduff said:

"Everyone acknowledges that increased collaboration and partnership arrangements between schools and across sectors is the way forward. However, it is essential that parental choice is not undermined.

"We have argued for the development of education communities involving all local education providers, including further education, primary and post primary sectors, working together with the local community to meet the needs of our children and young people. Much of this is recognised in the Bain Review.

"We will study the reviews recommendations in detail and assess it against the benchmark that it ensures that the child is at the heart of the education system.

"There are a number of recommendations that look very positive, in particular:

  • Recognition of the value of links to the community;
  • Viability must be based on 'quality and breadth of education' not merely financial issues;
  • The position of rural primary schools - although there needs to be a recognition of the role of post primary schools in rural communities;
  • The development of a comprehensive and coherent policy for Irish-medium education.

"Crucially there must be greater Investment in our education system and in children and young people. Falling enrolment must not be used as an excuse to cut education budgets." ENDS

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