No consistency from Education Minister in school expansion decisions: Kinahan

Ulster Unionist Party Education Spokesperson Danny Kinahan MLA has commented on the decision of Minister O’Dowd to reject, for a second time, a proposal to increase enrolment numbers at an Integrated secondary school in Omagh.

Danny Kinahan MLA said:

“Several things strike me about this decision by the Minister not to expand the intake at Drumragh Integrated College in Omagh.

“I fail to see any consistency in the Minister’s decision making.  He mentions his statutory responsibility in relation to facilitating integrated education.  He did the same in relation to Irish Medium when approving a new Irish language school near Dungiven recently.

“However, he goes on to  say, ‘It would not be right for me to make a decision that benefits one school and which also carries a strong risk of negatively impacting other nearby schools unduly.’ Yet he completely dismissed this material consideration in the Irish language school case.  His officials in their advice to him explicitly said,the establishment of a new Post-primary school would have a negative impact on the current provision within the Dungiven area.’

“Where is the consistency and fairness?  The Minister has failed to demonstrate either. Rather than issuing generic press releases, the Minister needs to come to the Assembly to explain in detail the decision making process behind major proposals such as these.”

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