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OP 43/09-10 Marshalled


Item 4: Order Paper 43-09/10– 15 March 2010

Private Members’ Business - Motions

Motion: Funding for Preparatory Departments

That this Assembly notes the Department of Education’s decision to withdraw funding from the preparatory departments of grammar schools as demonstrated by the Department’s budget proposals for 2010/11; believes that the consultation process undertaken by the Department does not meet with the Sedley requirements on the standards of proper consultation; considers that this proposal is contentious and should be considered by the full Executive; recognises the excellence in terms of attainment achieved by those pupils attending preparatory departments and the value for money that these departments represent in terms of funding by the Department of Education; further believes that the withdrawal of such funding would represent a false economy, suppress social mobility and restrict parental choice; and calls on the Minister of Education to reverse the decision.

[Miss M McIlveen]
[Mr B McCrea]
[Mr M Storey
[Mr J McCallister]

The Speaker has selected the following amendments for debate:

Amendment 1:

Proposed : leave out all after ‘grammar schools’ and insert:

‘; believes that primary schools provide an excellent opportunity for all children to begin their educational journey; notes that the proposed withdrawal of funding from the preparatory departments of grammar schools was part of the package of efficiencies agreed by the Minister of Education following the outcome of the Budget 2007 process; recognises that the proposal is in keeping with the recommendations of the report on the

Independent Strategic Review of Education (Bain Report, December 2006) and with the findings of the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Business Consultancy Service

Review of Funding to Preparatory Departments of Grammar Schools (September 2009); and looks forward to the outcome of the Equality Impact Assessment being undertaken by the Minister of Education to establish if the decision impacts on equality obligations.’

[Mr J O’Dowd]
[Mrs M O’Neill]

Amendment 2:

Proposed: leave out all after ‘attending preparatory departments’ and insert:

‘and that the timeframe for withdrawal of funding will have an adverse effect on their wellbeing; believes that the financial implications have not been adequately assessed; and calls on the Minister of Education to enter into discussions immediately with the schools’ representatives with a view to determining a solution acceptable to the schools’ authorities and the Department.

[Mr D Bradley]
[Dr A McDonnell]
Mr C McDevitt]
[Mrs M Bradley]