East Londonderry MP, Gregory Campbell has called for action following the publication of an Equality Commission report on the Province’s education which found young Protestant boys are falling even further behind.
Calling for the Education Minister John O’Dowd to introduce a five-year programme to address the problems in the north west, Mr Campbell said action needed to be taken urgently if the inequality in education outcomes was to be successfully turned around.
Among the key findings in the Equality Commission report were that boys have persistently lower levels of attainment than girls at both primary and post-primary level and, furthermore, Protestant students had persistently lower levels of attainment than Catholics at GCSE and A-Level. That gap has widened in recent years, the Equality Commission said.
Another shock statistics is that there are fewer male school leavers entering higher education than females, which is having an impact on the make-up of the graduate workforce, and it was also found that many schools are not effectively tackling racist bullying.
“The report bears out what many people have known for quite a number of years; in fact, I have tabled a series of questions to the Education Minister about a project that finished this summer, the Signature Project,” Mr Campbell said.
“It was a two-year programme aimed at assisting schools where many of their pupils came from precisely the background identified in this report, and early indicators are that this project was a significant success because it targeted additional teaching staff to assist in many of these areas.
“This report has much of the evidence that the Minister should already have to seek the resources to put a project like this back in place, but this time for a five-year period. That would go some considerable way to addressing this problem which particularly effects the Roe Valley, Londonderry and Coleraine and I call on the Minister to get the resources and the project in place.”