Ulster Unionist MLA and Party Education Spokesperson, Danny Kinahan has questioned why the DUP are supporting the Education Bill. He also claimed that it was John O’Dowd’s disdainful lack of consultation over the Education and Skills Authority proposals that led to the Ulster Unionist Party issuing a survey canvassing the views of every Principal and every Chair of Governors in Northern Ireland.
The South Antrim Representative said;
“The Minister, John O’Dowd, has made clear his dislike and disregard for consultation, including the dismissive quote that consultation “clogs up the system”.
The Ulster Unionist Party values the opinions of teachers and parents, and is determined that their views should be heard.
The Education Bill that is before Stormont will, in its current form, have an enormous impact on our education system in Northern Ireland.
In a world where our children need to seize every possible advantage, those who are trusted with educating them, are faced with lack of direction, stubbornness and poor leadership – this has now been compounded by the CCMS, the Catholic School governing authority, who have issued a polite but firm letter to all of its schools instructing them not to respond to the consultation exercise.
I urge them to reconsider – no-one in a democracy has anything whatsoever to fear from the kind of simple consultation exercise that the Ulster Unionist Party have put in place. Responses are confidential and once collated will be used to inform the Education debate. Given that the Minister has not seen fit to ask schools what their views are, I felt that someone should.
ESA unchallenged will hand ultimate control over the education of every child in Northern Ireland to Sinn Fein.
I would encourage everyone who cares about Education to ask their local DUP representatives a simple question: Why are you supporting this?”