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Lyttle says people must grasp opportunity to reshape education

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said people must grasp the opportunity to reshape education, after the independent review panel was appointed by the Education Minister.

Mr Lyttle was speaking after Michelle McIlveen announced the panel, made up of educational consultant Dr Kier Bloomer, former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Sir Gerry Loughran, principal of Banbridge Academy Robin McLoughlin, former principal of St Mary’s College Marie Lindsay and Isabel Nisbet, the first CEO of qualifications regulator Ofqual.

“The independent review of education was a New Decade, New Approach commitment after an Alliance proposal,” said Mr Lyttle, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

“Therefore, while the announcement of this panel is welcome, it is long overdue. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reshape our education system, to benefit all our children and help deliver the single education system committed to in that agreement.

“Separation and financial crisis continue to blight the educational opportunity of too many children and young people, and the need for fundamental investment and reform is beyond urgent. I urge the Education Minister to give a Ministerial Statement to MLAs in the Assembly to set out how this panel has been appointed and the way in which its expertise and experience will equip it to engage.

“Alliance will do all we can to include the people of Northern Ireland in this review and continue to work towards our vision of an integrated education system in which all children have equal opportunity to develop their unique personality, talent and ability together.”