Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 12th March 2013.

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Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin 2:00 pm, 12th March 2013

I understand that development proposals are either in or have been through the pre-consultation period for Dundonald High School and a number of the schools that the Member who previously spoke mentioned.  They have not come to a conclusion yet, and I have made no decision on them. Where a development proposal process is in place, a school that wishes to make alternative suggestions should include them in its responses to such a process.  It is there for a reason; it is there for consultation with all stakeholders, particularly the staff and pupils of the school and the community that it serves.

I assure the Member that where a school brings forward alternative proposals they will be listened to.  However, any such proposals have to stack up on the basis of educational evidence.  We have to assure ourselves that the pupils who are currently at a school or the pupils who will attend it in future will have access to high-quality education.