NI election issues guide: Education

Education is one of the powers devolved to Stormont.

Key issues include post-primary academic selection and the level of university tuition fees.

Election issues 2011



Sinn Fein






  • Produce a roadmap for a single education system
  • Increase investment in the foundation years
  • Expand programmes to improve literacy
  • Legislate to improve special educational needs provision
  • Ensure no one is priced out of a university education.
  • Create an all-Ireland education system
  • Cut back on bureaucracy and ensure that more resources are put into frontline services
  • Build more new schools on the basis of area needs
  • Increase the availability and resources of Irish language education
  • Continue to support the Sinn Fein minister's decision to abolish academic selection for secondary education in NI
  • Extend the entitlement to free school meals for children
  • Oppose student tuition fees
  • Support a new fees regime which helps older people to become involved in life-long learning
  • Continue to call for a reprioritisation of executive funds so the current cap on tuition fees can be retained
  • Prioritise Early Years Intervention including making pre-school education a universal entitlement
  • Continue to support academic selection; find a genuine, long-term resolution to the post primary transfer process
  • Ensure continuous streaming as well as devolving more power and flexibility to head teachers to interpret the curriculum
  • Abolish academic selection for secondary education
  • Better provision for nursery and primary school children
  • Oppose any increase in university tuition fees
  • Support the Irish medium sector to ensure that pupils and teachers have equality with those in other sectors
  • Monitor implementation of the SDLP's Autism Act to ensure people with autism, have access to the services they require
  • Address segregation in education and deliver more shared and integrated schooling
  • Create an Education and Skills Authority to improve governance in education and save money
  • End academic selection at age 11
  • Prevent large increases in university tuition fees
  • Invest in early years and child care provision
  • Provide independent careers advice to all young people
  • Oppose any rise in student fees and put forward proposals to scrap fees altogether
  • Oppose academic selection. Take the onus off pure academic achievement and find a system where creativity and practical skills are credited as well
  • Early years services should be universally available
  • Parental choice is most important
  • Promote excellence in grammar and secondary schools through adequate funding
  • Reject wasting resources on Irish language schools
  • Freeze university tuition fees at current levels for Northern Ireland students

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