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

Unfortunately not. As I said in a previous response, the Northern Ireland block is facing considerable pressure next year and beyond to meet the financial costs of Education, Health and other Departments. I have met Executive colleagues, including the First Minister and deputy First Minister and the Economy Minister. I have meetings set up with the Minister for Communities, and I am meeting the Health Minister tomorrow.

I wish to express the importance of delivering on this cross-cutting report. Commitments to implementing 'A Fair Start' and the action plan can only be fully delivered with additional funding. In recent years, as I have said, my Department has been relying on significant additional in-year resources to meet inescapable pressures, but, for me, 'A Fair Start' is an incredibly important piece of work. I want to ensure that, unlike other reports that have been put on a shelf, there is a pathway forward and that we see significant work coming out of it. We need to make a long-term commitment if we mean what we say, in that we do not want to have further underachievement, particularly for our young boys. It is something that I and my party are committed to.