Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has said that faith schools should be privately funded and that tax payers should only fund one system.
He made his statements whilst addressing a UUP conference on poverty. State funding for Catholic Schools was introduced by UUP prime minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill, (initially 80% funding but eventually 100%)
What I mean by a single education system is this: the taxpayer funds one system. Yes, there will be parents who choose to go to an independent school, or to set up a faith-based school, and that’s fine — that’s choice. But we’ll pay for one system; we stop funding multiple and divisive systems.
A few gaping holes in his argument. He goes on to talk about his support for Grammar schools which immediately shoots down his `single system`. He doesn`t mention that parents who choose to send their children to a Faith School would then be paying twice for their children`s education. In fact this is already the case with the 7 Free Presbyterian Independent Christian Schools which do not receive any state funding. Surely in such a case, parents are due a tax rebate?
At the same time schools in the Republic seem to be heading for some major changes, with some Catholic schools being handed to the State.