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.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of William Humphrey William Humphrey DUP 10:45 am, 28th July 2020

Thank you, Mr Principal Deputy Speaker. Like you, I come from a working-class Protestant background, so I commend the Minister for his announcement today. This issue has been a running sore in our community for some time and is one that my party has wanted to deal with effectively. I commend the Minister, having spoken to him in January on his appointment, for this process. I also welcome the panel, some of whom I know. Mary Montgomery is the principal of the Boys' Model School. She is very committed to the community in North Belfast. Kathleen was an excellent leader and principal in Hazelwood Integrated College, and Jackie Redpath is an institution in these issues. I commend those three people in particular for their work.

Minister, the work will start in September, and, if I heard you correctly, you said that it would complete in May 2021. This is obviously hugely important work, and I commend the panel and wish them well with it. We have had reports before, so can you assure the House and, more importantly, the young people in the community that the proposals that will come from the panel will be implemented and will make a difference on the ground?