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 11:15 am on 28th July 2020.

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Photo of Peter Weir Peter Weir DUP 11:15 am, 28th July 2020

Certainly, we can make the terms of reference available to Members. Broadly speaking, I think that there will be buy-in across Departments on this. Probably the principal role will be for the evidence that is submitted, and there is certainly no bar on that. The panel, to some extent, will have free reign to decide who it wants to hear from. I suspect everybody will submit evidence, but the panel will choose who it invites to its hearings. It is not really my role to interfere with that. I think that, across the board, there is a realisation that a level of cross-cutting is required to make an impact on educational achievement in the same way as education, itself, drives a range of other issues. What happens in education will have an impact on the justice system and health further down the line, and Education has a very strong relationship with the Economy Department. There are linkages, and I think that they have been recognised throughout the system. One area that I presume we will look at, as part of this, is where we might have a more joined-up approach between Departments.