The Strangford MLA was speaking following the publication of the first Integrated Education Strategy by the Department, which sets out actions it, arms length bodies and other organisations such as the Education Authority should take to support integrated education.
“The integrated education movement has waited a long time for the Department of Education to produce a specialised strategy, so it is welcome to finally see it,” said Ms Armstrong.
“It is designed to ensure the growth of integrated education and support schools who wish to transform. However, the only way it will do that is if the recommendations contained in it are delivered upon, as well as the Integrated Education Act as a whole. It sets out what the Department needs to do to fulfil its duty. It is time it started taking forward actions to do that, such as identifying how parental demand for integrated education will be measured and planned for.
“However, the strategy is not perfect and should be more comprehensive. It also contains mentions of shared education, which is an entirely separate form of education, away from integrated education’s idea of educating children side by side everyday.
“Despite this, it is a step in the right direction. But the reality remains, while the Assembly and Executive remain in deep freeze, this long fought for strategy will remain another victim of the DUP’s deadlock. There is no Education Minister to implement it or Education Committee to scrutinise it and hold the Department to account. I once again call on those holding the institutions to ransom to return and allow us to do the work needed to improve our society.”