Education

The DUP wants to bring stability to the education sector after four years of chaos in the Department.

Education

We would seek to:

  • Pursue the best education outcomes for young people in the Province
  • Produce a comprehensive long-term plan for the education sector including a roadmap to create a single education system
  • Introduce an Individual Education Plan for every pupil based on a simplified Pupil Profile
  • Legislate to implement a Special Educational Needs strategy after overhaul of the outgoing Minister’s proposals
  • Review the Revised Curriculum with a view to giving principals and teachers more freedom to adapt their offering to suit the pupils’ particular circumstances
  • Conduct a value for money review of the Autism Centre at Middletown
  • The Entitlement Framework to be considered aspirational rather than compulsory
  • Assist unemployed teachers to take training modules permitting them to attain experience in the preschool sector or similarly in reading recovery schemes until they obtain a teaching post
  • Ensure access to youth services particularly for disadvantaged young people
  • Produce a comprehensive, cross-Departmental youth strategy


FOUNDATION YEARS

  • Enhance spending on foundation years provision
  • Introduce a Foundation Years Bill
  • Integrate and implement the Childcare and Early Years strategies
  • Identify and disseminate best practice to promote quality across the entire early years workforce
  • Improve the delivery of early years services through enhancing the qualifications of staff
  • Continue the one year funded preschool provision available to all children, and work towards delivering universal affordable childcare
  • Strategic approach to co-ordinated provision of family and parent support services

SHARING

  • Work towards creating a single education system
  • Establish a Commission harnessing international expertise to advise on a strategy for enhancing sharing and integration within our education system
  • Establish schools as shared spaces
  • Promote sharing of resources and assets between schools
  • Give consideration to weighting funding towards Area Learning Communities that demonstrate cross-sectoral work
  • Deepen the inclusive nature of area based planning ensuring it is citizen based rather than focused on organisations
  • Require school development proposals to demonstrate that options for sharing have been fully explored
  • Encourage stronger collaboration between the different teacher training institutions with the aim of consolidating into a single teacher training system
  • Remove the exemption currently provided within the Fair Employment and Treatment Order for teacher recruitment
  • Remove legislation which currently advantages specific education sectors over others


ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURES

  • Rationalise immediately the five Education Boards into one, followed quickly by a single body subsuming the functions, assets and liabilities of Education Boards, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, Staff Commission and Youth Council
  • Bring teacher recruitment exemptions from fair employment legislation to an end when a single employing authority is established
  • Preserve the legislative entitlement of the Transferor Representative Council to membership of the ownership body for controlled schools
  • Scrap plans for an Education Advisory Forum and multiple costly sectoral support bodies, with each existing sector represented on the new single body on the same basis as the Transferors


TRANSFER

  • Support academic selection, matching pupils to the most appropriate post-primary school for their individual needs
  • Preserve and promote grammar schools, with Boards of Governors free to determine admissions criteria
  • Work to deliver a single robust form of assessment for post-primary transfer
  • Ensure attractive vocational opportunities for those who do not wish to pursue an academic path
  • Seek to re-image the post-primary sector emphasising parity of esteem amongst all schools


UNDERACHIEVEMENT

  • Develop a strategy to assist Protestant working class boys who tend tohave the lowest level of achievement, addressing issues such as aspiration, parental involvement and the value placed on education
  • Promote education ambassadors and role models in areas of educational underachievement
  • Tackle disparity between outcomes from maintained and controlled non-selective schools
  • Reduce the percentage of pupils leaving school with no qualifications
  • Support alternative measures of social deprivation rather than the Free School Meals indicator
  • Increase the focus on literacy and numeracy at primary level
  • Encourage more schemes involving volunteers to help disadvantaged children with literacy
  • Support extended schools programmes
  • Ensure additional funding through the Social Investment Fund will be used to increase and expand interventions to tackle this key community challenge


FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION

  • Continue to oppose any rise in student fees beyond the routine year-on-year inflationary uplifts
  • Seek to have the cap on student numbers in Northern Ireland removed
  • Develop and implement a Further and Higher Education strategy
  • Increase commercialisation of intellectual property from Northern Ireland’s university research base
  • Assist in the formation of a business school locally linked to a U.S. institution
  • Seek to create a specialist Technology Institute
  • As occurs in Germany, explore funding partnerships with business where there is mutual interest in providing courses which will address identified key skills deficits
  • Seek to improve the proportion of skilled craftsmen and technicians that Northern Ireland produces relative to mainland European nations
  • Promote the skills required to compete in the global marketplace
  • Improve opportunities for adults to enhance numeracy, literacy and ICT skills
  • Increase the proportion of working age population with qualifications
  • Break the cycle of multiple generations in unemployment
  • Increase the numbers studying STEM subjects
  • Offer student loan relief for individuals who commit to working in the Province for ten years
  • Continue offering scholarships to high-achieving students remaining in Northern Ireland
  • Seek to introduce a graduate home loan scheme for first time buyers with a degree in subjects crucial to improving our economy
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