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 Karen Mullan Karen Mullan Sinn Féin 10:45 am, 28th July 2020

Minister, I welcome the fact that you and your Department have worked speedily to deliver on the commitments made in 'New Decade, New Approach' regarding tackling underachievement. I remind you of the other commitment in the document, which includes all children and young people, regardless of their background, as educational underachievement does not recognise any religious divide. Like the Member who spoke before me, I look forward to meeting the panel and wish them well in their work. I know some of them well, particularly Joyce Logue, principal of a school in my area, who is well aware of the issues facing children coming from disadvantage.

Minister, in the document, you focus on GCSE as an indicator for measuring attainment. Why, then, do the intervention programmes listed in the document seem to be targeted mostly at primary-school children and primary 7 pupils?