Educational Underachievement

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 18th October 2021.

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Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP 2:30 pm, 18th October 2021

I thank the Member for his question. That was a commitment in New Decade, New Approach, which was brought forward by my predecessor. We have got to the stage now of having a report with a long-term action plan containing 47 actions spread across six years and beyond. The focus of the report is very much on early years. My Department has begun to look at implementation of the report and an action plan. A programme board has been established. Three meetings have taken place to date, and a schedule of meetings has been agreed. Senior responsible officers have been established for each of the eight key areas identified in the report.

Due to the cross-cutting design of the report, there was representation on the programme board from a number of Departments and arm's-length bodies. A stakeholder reference group has been established to support the programme board to develop and refine the actions. That includes trade union representation, schools and community groups. I have allocated £4 million in this year's budget to begin the work, and I am pleased to report that two of the 47 actions are already being delivered.