Lyttle submits Assembly recall petition, urging Education Minister to give statement on school issues

Chris Lyttle Education Assembly

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has submitted an Assembly recall petition for the Education Minister to give an urgent statement on the safety of and contingency for school restart, transfer tests and examinations in January.

The Chair of the Education Committee has submitted a recall petition, which 30 MLAs must sign in order to have the Assembly return this week, to bring Peter Weir to the chamber to answer questions on the matters.

"It is imperative the Education Minister makes a statement to the Assembly on the scientific and medical advice he has received relating to the safety of school restart, transfers tests and other examinations scheduled during the lockdown in January, and sets out the contingency plans he has in place to mitigate any COVID-related disruption of these arrangements,” said Mr Lyttle.

“It is clearly unacceptable for the Minister to address matters of such serious public interest and concern via press release and social media on the last day of school term. The public, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and children and young people deserve his support and a proper explanation of the advice on which this important decision is based.

“The Education Minister has proposed no meaningful contingency to the mass testing of children for entrance to publicly-funded secondary schools during a global pandemic that has changed how we do almost every other aspect of life. To call on primary schools to cover this abdication of responsibility via press release at the end of term is unacceptable.

“I wrote to the Education Minister on Friday to ask him to give a statement to the Assembly before Christmas and was told he will give a statement on the return of the Assembly on January 18. This is clearly not good enough and I would ask MLAs to sign the Assembly recall petition I have submitted to require an urgent, proper Assembly statement on these serious matters this week.”