The Education Bill is to be debated in the Assembly next week. The legislation is intended to provide for an Education and Skills Authority (ESA) which follows on from the Review of Public Administration (RPA) announced in November 2005. According to Education Minister Catriona Ruane – ‘affectionately’ known as Catriona ‘Ruin’ in DUP circles – the Department’s key priority is to streamline the administration of education and raise education standards in the ‘North’. Prior to the introduction of the Bill, debate has already been rife in political circles and indeed among the public as to what the new education system will look like post-2010.
Whatever the outcome, Chambré understands that Education Bill is set to have a lengthy committee stage, which will undoubtedly result in a significant number of amendments being proposed at consideration stage (report stage for those versed in the Westminster system).