Grammar schools are right to highlight problems with the Department of Education’s ‘entitlement framework’, which requires all secondary schools to provide a broad range of courses in both academic and practical disciplines. There is a very real danger that forcing schools to provide courses which only a tiny number of pupils want to study will stretch resources for key subjects to breaking point.
It isn’t necessary to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our children’s education. It is healthy and beneficial for some schools to focus on a more academic curriculum, while others provide a more vocational emphasis. The key is to allow schools to get on with doing what they do best, giving pupils the education they require.
We should aim for excellence in a variety of educational pathways, which can provide children with the skills they need to help build Northern Ireland’s economy. That’s not to say that every school should be obliged to do exactly the same job. Give teachers and schools the freedom to provide the best education they can and concentrate on the pathways in which they excel.
Spokesperson Northern Ireland Conservatives