Appointment of an Expert Panel to Examine Links between Persistent Educational Underachievement and Socio-economic Background

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:45 am on 28th July 2020.

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Photo of Robbie Butler Robbie Butler UUP 10:45 am, 28th July 2020

I thank the Minister for the statement. I think that he referred to the fact that this has been an issue for many years, but young people today are at a disadvantage that we were not faced with. Like the Member for North Belfast, I am from a socially disadvantaged background. I did not get my GCSEs and did not do well in the transfer test, but I was able to succeed. However, children today do not have that opportunity, because it is more competitive to get jobs in the Fire and Rescue Service or the Prison Service, where I spent time. That puts extra emphasis on this welcome piece of work. However, for a really transformative project, it is important that we recognise the correlation between social deprivation and mental health and well-being. Can the Minister tell us of any import that he has given or will give to the panel with regard to looking at that issue and that correlation?