SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan has called for clear proposals on how to promote and further integrated education in the North, while also respecting the diversity of our schools estate.
He was speaking after second stage of the Integrated Education Bill in the Assembly on Tuesday.
The West Tyrone MLA said:
“The SDLP has a long history of supporting integrated education, both in our words and in our actions. We have also backed our commitment with financial support when Mark Durkan served as Finance Minister. Such was our strength of feeling that integrated education would help bring our divided communities together we ensured it was enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement. We believe that we need to make the option of integrated education more real and viable for parents.
“We believe more needs to be done to support and enhance integrated education, that’s why we supported today’s bill and we’ll work with colleagues from across the Assembly to ensure it meets the needs of all our children. This is important legislation and needs to be consulted on as widely as possible, including with education stakeholders and groups.
“Despite continued improvement in provision, with 65 schools and 9 more in the pipeline, we still have not come far enough. Integrated education is one key way in which we can help bring society together. However, education is just one aspect and we also need to see action on shared housing, shared sports and social pursuits, we must come together in every way if we are truly to build a shared future.”