Social Democratic and Labour Party MLA Daniel McCrossan has welcomed the publication of the ‘Fair Start’ final report and action plan that aims to address persistent educational underachievement.
The West Tyrone MLA said welcomed the consensus contained in the report and action plan, which mirrors the suggestions made in the SDLP programme for tackling underachievement published last Autumn.
Mr McCrossan has sought clarity following confirmation that the Executive endorsed the action plan that Finance Minister Conor Murphy will commit to the implementation of the report, which requires £36m per year over the next five years.
Daniel McCrossan MLA said:
“The expert panel on educational underachievement have completed an important piece of work that will, if rigorously implemented, will make a real difference to the school experience and life chances of huge numbers of young people. The plan published today mirrors the suggestions the SDLP made when we published our programme to tackle underachievement last Autumn. I am glad that we have been able to secure a consensus, particularly on early intervention and early years resourcing.
“My primary concern now is that this document doesn’t become another tome sitting on an Executive shelf that gets its moment in the sun on publication day but is never implemented. That’s why I am raising questions about the resource attached to the action plan. I understand that the full Executive endorsed the report last week, that should now mean that Finance Minister Conor Murphy is setting aside the £36m per year required to implement the recommendations over the next five years. Endorsement without a robust resourcing plan is, frankly, worthless to the children from deprived backgrounds who need a fair start.”