Education Order

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 1991.

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Photo of Mr Roger Stott Mr Roger Stott , Wigan 12:00 am, 17th January 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the workings of the Northern Ireland Education Order.

Photo of Mr Roger Stott Mr Roger Stott , Wigan

The Minister of State will be aware that the Northern Ireland Education Order was not greeted with universal acclamation in the House or, indeed, in Northern Ireland. Is the Minister sure that he has convinced the teaching profession, the area education boards and, moreover, parents in Northern Ireland that the provisions contained in the order are in the best interests of educating the children of Northern Ireland in Northern Irish schools?

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney , Peterborough

Yes. The only exceptions that I might be tempted to make are the leaders of education unions. I have gone some way in convincing them that it is a positive development.

Photo of Mr Roy Beggs Mr Roy Beggs , East Antrim

Will the Minister assure the House that his nominated bodies are doing everything possible to ensure that schools in Northern Ireland are prepared for curriculum change? Will schools and colleges which still need capital expenditure to provide science and technology accommodation receive funds to finance it?

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney , Peterborough

Yes. First, a considerable programme of in-service training for teachers started in 1989–90 and will continue through next year. There will be days of exceptional school closures and extra resources will be made available to the education and library boards. On the capital aspects of education reform, the hon. Gentleman will know that we have made available an extra £135 million over and above already record levels of expenditure on education and that a sizeable proportion of that sum is being devoted, over a period, to precisely that which he seeks. [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I again ask the House to listen to Northern Ireland questions. They are a rare opportunity for Northern Ireland Members to put their questions to Ministers.