General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

 
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"Let's close the gap" - says Education Minister

23-03-2009

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The gap between high achievement and under achievement is threatening children’s ability to reach their potential.

That was the message from Caitríona Ruane at a teacher symposium in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast. The symposium’s theme this year is ‘Closing the achievement gap and improving the life chances of all young people’.

The Minister said: “The symposium will address the very important issues which contribute to the inequalities in our education system. While we have excellent results at one end of the spectrum, our education system is a contradiction and we have notable underachievement at the other end - we have to close the gap.

“Almost 12,000 young people leave school without five GCSE passes, including English and Maths, that is almost half the pupil population. This is simply unacceptable and it is my responsibility as Education Minister for all children, to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.

“Every decision I take as Education Minister, every policy I approve and every step forward, aims to raise standards, create an equal and fair system, provide new and exciting opportunities and at the very centre of this ethos, is the child. We must not stand by while children are being failed and left behind by our current system.”

The Minister continued: “My department will shortly announce the details of the ‘Every School a Good School’ improvement policy which sets out our aspirations for ensuring every young person has access to high quality education. The effective implementation of this policy will ensure our schools are second to none and that all pupils, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation can achieve their potential, develop skills and knowledge and become a valued part of society.”

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