General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Education Minister addresses Assembly on Convergence


Department of Education

The Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has addressed the Assembly during a debate on the Convergence Delivery Plans.

Speaking during the debate, the Minister said: “The Executive agreed that we need the Education and Skills Authority (ESA) to reduce bureaucracy, streamline administration and promote a single, common, optimal solution to tackling the twin evils of under-achievement and inefficiency.

“For the last two years I have been pressing hard to implement this Executive policy. ESA is ready to go, all set to deliver the efficiencies envisaged. Unfortunately, some political parties continue to block the progression of this essential legislation through the Assembly.

“My first priority is to improve the life chances of young people. Secondly, I have to address the financial realities of the budget settlement. In simple terms £13 million has been removed from the education budget in anticipation of ESA. We need to address these reductions.

“I have spoken frequently about the need for change. Change to put our children at the heart of education. We are not making sufficient progress, sufficiently quickly, on raising the performance of pupils leaving school.

“Those who proposed this debate are not showing genuine concern. It is about political grand-standing. I won’t be dragged into the tedium of their narrow self-interest.

“We anticipate substantial financial savings from the establishment of ESA, savings that must be implemented immediately. That is precisely why we need to make progress with fulfilling the Executive’s commitment to create ESA, to better provide for pupils, staff and the whole community.

“I have to ensure that we live within budget and I am determined to do that whilst protecting front-line services. I am working to ensure that wherever possible, we will enhance the resources available to classroom teachers. I want less spent on bureaucracy, more spent on teaching and learning.”



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