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Schools deadlines 'won't be met'

02-06-2008


02/06/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: BBC News

Groups set up to shape the future of NI's schools are unlikely to meet the deadlines set by the education minister an SDLP assembly member has said.

Education spokesman Dominic Bradley accused Caitríona Ruane of continually making announcements without having worked out the details of proposals.

The setting up of one central and five regional bodies was announced in March.

The Department of Education has said there is widespread agreement they will work to deliver local education needs.

The bodies are called area based planning groups and are expected to plan how schools and further education colleges would manage a change to pupils making major choices at 14 rather than at 11.

The chairpersons of the groups were announced three months ago and, at the time, the minister said she would announce the membership of the groups "shortly".

They have not yet been revealed and Mr Bradley said the delay would mean they have no chance of meeting the government's deadline of October to put proposals to a central group.

That in turn would delay the consultation on changes which was due to take place in January.

The Department of Education said the chairs and vice chairs of the groups have spent a considerable time preparing the groundwork which is essential for a new process and that the minister is still working to achieve the original deadlines of October and January next year.

"A contribution from the education committee, of which Mr Bradley is a member, is still awaited," the department added.

 

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