Realisation of the Impact of the Integrated Education Bill is Only Sinking in For Many - Brolly
Following today’s Assembly proceedings on the Integrated Education Bill, Aontú Education Spokesperson and East Derry Rep Gemma Brolly stated;
“Many people in the education sector will be are heartened by the increased realisation of the impact of the Integrated Education Bill. We in Aontú encourage everyone to ensure they are fully aware of what this Bill entails, as it is a significant departure from equality in education. The Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has tabled a successful motion at the Good Friday Agreement Committee in the Dail to invite the Controlled School Sector, the Catholic Schools sector and the Gaelscoil sector in the North of Ireland before the committee to discuss the real impact on education. The Integrated Education Sector has already had an opportunity to make a presentation to the Good Friday Agreement Committee in the last few weeks.”
“Aontú supports Integrated Education. It provides excellent education to children all over the north. But we believe all sectors of education should have equal support, including the provision of planning authorities. Parents should be at the very heart of all decision making but they are largely irrelevant in this bill. 93% of children in sectors outside of Integrated Education have no reference whatsoever in this bill. This Bill does not provide for equal treatment of all students and schools. We have been contacted by parents with children currently attending Integrated Schools who have stated that they do not agree with this Bill.
“Aontú’s primary concern is for the education system as it currently exists in ALL schools regardless of sectors. The Minister of Education has today confirmed that passage of this Bill would deprioritise and extract funding from Catholic and Controlled Schools which make up 93% of stendents in the north. This Bill will effect the funding provided to your local school in the future. We need more funding for all schools to deal with seriously urgent issues such as the recovery of education from the pandemic, the physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our children and staff, support for vulnerable children and addressing barriers in education, following through with “A Fair Start.” Many of our schools are in crisis and all schools must be prioritised equally at every level”.
“We in Aontú believe this bill does not and will not equate all sectors as supporters of the bill claim. We believe it completely ignores schools which are integrated from within but simply do not bear the title. We also believe it undermines all past and current investment and support for ‘Shared Education.’ This bill is simply not fit for purpose. We have launched an online and in person petition to allow for parents, students and teachers to communicate their opposition to this Bill. We urge parents to make their concerns known. Through petition and further action as deemed necessary Aontú demand this Bill goes back to the drawing board and an appropriate period of consultation with all stakeholders should be facilitated in order to provide a fair and equitable education system which delivers a significantly higher standard of education accessible to all, cherishing ALL the children equally.