Education Minister, Peter Weir said that despite the financial challenges that lie ahead he was committed to tackling educational underachievement.
The Minister was speaking in response to the launch of the Chief Inspector of the Education and Training Inspectorate’s (ETI) biennial report into the local education system, covering the period 2014-16.
Commenting on the report, the Minister said:
“I welcome today’s report from the Chief Inspector of the ETI Noelle Buick. This detailed report sets out evidence of good practice across our education sector and also highlights areas which need to be addressed.
“My top priority is raising standards for all children and helping them reach their full potential. Northern Ireland has much to celebrate in terms of success and I am encouraged that so many of our schools continue to achieve excellent standards and that teachers are providing high quality learning to pupils. I am also pleased to see that many schools in formal intervention have now left that process.
“However, it is clear from this report that there remain gaps in educational attainment for children from disadvantaged backgrounds particularly pupils entitled to free school meals, boys and Looked After Children. While there are some improvements more needs to be done by all of us to tackle this problem.”
Continuing the Minister said that the pressures on budgets would continue and that he recognised this would bring increased difficulties for schools in the future.
“I appreciate that asking schools to deliver the same standards for less money is a challenge but for my part I will do whatever I can to help. That is why I have written to schools seeking their views on autonomy and increased financial delegation.
“The recent publication of the Education Authority’s area planning consultation also provides an opportunity for us to change the shape of education for the better.
“Ultimately I want to see opportunities for all of our children with pupils being able to pursue the pathway that is best for them.”
Notes to editors:
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