Improving Education Standards

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 2:23 pm, 29th November 2018

I thank the right hon. Lady for that intervention. She has knowledge of Northern Ireland. As I said earlier, I am on the board of governors for Glastry College. The college works alongside St Columba’s in Portaferry, the Catholic maintained school, the Strangford Integrated College in Strangford, and other grammar schools in Bangor and Newtownards. They come together to put on classes that they would not otherwise be able to hold individually because of the cost. There are a lot of examples of that kind of working. I know about them personally in my constituency and I know they exist across the whole of Northern Ireland.

I believe Northern Ireland has the best education system in the whole of the United Kingdom. That will not continue without funding and a capable Minister to oversee it. Stormont may be silent, but the hon. Member for Strangford will not be silent when it comes to speaking up for our education system, whether in this House or elsewhere. We need help and we need attention, and we need it now before we lose the potential of a generation of children. They could suffer as a result of what is happening.

Northern Ireland education is not the responsibility of the Minister on the Front Bench. As a devolved matter, it is not the direct responsibility of this House. However, I ask the Minister to speak to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Education permanent secretary in Northern Ireland to save the education of my grandchildren and every other child in Northern Ireland.