Ulster Unionists appalled at report

THE Ulster Unionist Party has expressed concern over the impact on schools in Banbridge as a result of the recently published Shared Education Report.

Ulster Unionist Education spokesperson, Danny Kinahan said: “We welcome opportunities afforded by shared Education and much of this report, but we are horrified by its attack on the academic selection and the grammar school system.

“It is great to see that the DUP are now on board in standing up for grammar schools, academic selection and the voluntary principle after their ‘wishy-washy’ stance on ESA.

“We now can see very clearly Sinn Fein’s consistent attempts to destroy grammar schools. Schools such as Banbridge Academy, Portadown College and Lurgan College, amongst others, must not be allowed to be attacked or destroyed under Sinn Fein’s strategies.”

Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson commented: “It is unfortunate that this report conducts a blatant and unbridled attack on our grammar schools and the principle of academic selection. It lays bare what we have known for some time - Sinn Fein hold purely ideological views on the future education of our young people. The children and not the politics should be put front and centre in any discussions on the future of shared education.”

She went on to say: “The Ulster Unionist Party is committed to putting the needs of the child first and call upon Sinn Fein and DUP to leave behind their phoney wars, focus on the delivery of a truly shared education system and ensure that the views of the public, as recently expressed in the responses to Area Planning Proposals, are not side-lined in favour of a narrow-minded agenda led by Sinn Fein.”