Integrated Education Bill creates hierarchy of sectors – Beattie

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Integrated Education Bill creates hierarchy of sectors – Beattie

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has stated that the Integrated Education Bill is flawed legislation that creates a hierarchy of sectors.

Mr. Beattie said:


“The Ulster Unionist Party is absolutely committed to a single education system. We want to see all our children educated together. However the Integrated Education Bill will not deliver that.


“The Ulster Unionist Party voted against the Integrated Education Bill because it is imbalanced and pits one education sector against another. It creates a hierarchy of sectors and elevates one above all others. It puts financial pressures on the Department of Education which the Minister has made clear they do not have the budget to meet and is set up for failure.


“Given that the Bill sponsor started this journey in 2016/17, it is astonishing that she has failed so spectacularly to bring essential stakeholders along with her including the Controlled Sector and CCMS.


“The Ulster Unionist Party put forward amendments to remove the divisive aspects of the Bill that would have ensured that no sector would gain advantage to the detriment of others, but these were rejected by other parties.


“We cannot support a Petition of Concern (PoC) because it is designed to protect minorities or single identity groups and has failed to meet that test in this case. Therefore its use would have been an abuse of the democratic process.


“We will campaign to change the unfair and divisive aspects of this Bill. We will use democratic mechanisms in the next mandate to try to deliver a long-needed Single Education system for all our children.”