Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland shared and integrated education: Share and share alike

By Will Chambre

This week the department of education launched a consultation on shared and integrated education. At the same time the Assembly’s education committee is continuing its inquiry into...wait for it...shared and integrated education.

Next week the committee will be hearing about ‘Together: Building a United Community’ shared campuses protocols.

One wonders how the results of the consultation and the committee inquiry will be matched up.

Now you may have thought we were all enduring tough times. Not so when it comes MLAs clocking up the air miles.

On Tuesday next week members of the Assembly and Executive review committee will be having a behind-closed-doors session on women in politics and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Before Christmas members of the committee flew to Iceland to hear why the island has more women involved in politics.

No doubt, at some point, we’ll learn how much this trip cost.

The justice committee will be juggling a sensitive issue when the regulation and quality improvement authority (RQIA), gives evidence on health minister Jim Wells’ amendment to the Justice Bill that will make it illegal to accept fees for abortion.

The next day, Wednesday, the Green Party MLA Steven Agnew will be briefing the committee for the office of first minister and deputy first minister on his private member’s bill – The Children’s Services Co-operation Bill - which will require all departments and agencies delivering children’s services to co-operate.

The bill raises two key question. Firstly, should they not co-operate already, and secondly, with the number of departments being reduced from 12 to nine, will it not be much easier to co-operate in the future?

And finally, the committee for culture, arts and leisure will be hearing evidence on community broadcasting.  Journalism is often decried and slated by politicians, but as they hear evidence, hopefully members will be reminded of the tragic sacrifice of those who died earlier this week at the offices of Charlie Hedbo in Paris.

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