Parental choice in education must be paramount: Dodds

Commenting on the transforming education paper published by Ulster University, DUP MLA Diane Dodds said

By Diane Dodds MLA

Upper Bann

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"Northern Ireland students achieve some of the best results in the United Kingdom. Whilst we have a world-class education system, it is not perfect and we must always be open to improvement. This is a task that was engaged in through the Fair Start report which produced 47 actions spanning across all aspects of education.

Our vision of a single education system is one in which parental choice is enshrined and paramount. Any child should enjoy the same rights as every other child. Unfortunately we have already seen recent legislation and other most historic law that places priority on sectors of education rather than on the individual child itself. No child should be disadvantaged because of the sector they are educated within.

Our support for parental choice doesn't just extend to different sectors within education, but the right of post-primary schools to use academic criteria in admissions. The Ulster University report is clear in its desire to also remove that choice and see an entirely comprehensive system.

The report acknowledges they are putting forward a vision "that is speculative and may possibly even be fanciful". They are of course entitled to put forward a vision, but we should also look at processes which are already underway to take forward our education system into the future."

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