Education Minister John O'Dowd has taken part in the Northern Ireland Executive's first live Twitter Q&A.
Minister O'Dowd answered 26 questions over an hour on a range of topics. The full transcript of the Q&A is available below.
From @niexecutive - Education Minister John O'Dowd up next to answer questions. Just arriving from a visit to Wellington College, Belfast #AskDE
Question 1 - from @ColininNI
#askDE to what extent will the review announced recently include the efficiency of maintaining 5 ELBs?
Answer - @ColininNI Viability audit does not include Boards. I aim to replace Boards and other bodies with single Education & Skills Authority #AskDE
Question 2 - from @boo50hoo
@niexecutive #AskDE Why did Mr O'Dowd not brief the Education Boards before his speech two weeks ago. The SELB is not following his criteria
Answer - @boo50hoo All ELBs were briefed on day of speech. Terms of ref for audit will be on DE website soon #AskDE
Question 3 – from @nbonnes
#AskDE In the minister's opinion what would be the ideal model for the Randalstown/Ballymena post-primary provision?
Answer - @nbonnes the area planning process will identify proposals for all areas including Randalstown. I await proposals from ELBs #AskDE
Question 4 – from @collapsibubble
Will you consider removing compulsory xian religious participation from schools? Schools should educate and churches preach. #AskDE
Answer - @collapsibubble Schools deliver core RE topics, add to them as per ethos. Parents can withdraw children from RE classes if they wish #AskDE
Question 5 – from @Kilsally
#AskDE Does the minister foresee a move to a single education system for all to foster reconciliation and to save money? @1schoolthought
Answer - @Kilsally Better planning and greater sharing will promote reconciliation and efficiency #AskDE
Question 6 - from @Gary_NI
@niexecutive my mum is a substitute teacher with 25yrs experience in full time teaching. Is she now considered past her use by date? #AskDE
Question 7 – from @MrMalcontent
@JohnODowdSF so, did you have a look at how some teachers are willing to do their own CPD in NI? #tmbelfast #askDE
Answer- @MrMalcontent CPD, and teacher education in general, is currently under review - see link http://ow.ly/6Wd7h #AskDE
Question 8 - from @derd28
@JohnODowdSF #AskDE when are you going to sort this transfer test mess out? Despicable the level of stress put on children. Action needed!
Answer - @derd28 Transfer policy requires no tests. Many good schools do not use academic selection #AskDE
Question 9 - from @Wiseabap
Time to end schools inherent homophobia and their exemption from equality duties Minister O'Dowd #askDE ow.ly/1yuAVX @niexecutive
Answer - @Wiseabap Homophobia is unacceptable. See this link to see how we are tackling it http://ow.ly/6WdqC #AskDE
Question 10 - from @bradleyea
#askDE what will you do to support & expand integrated sector? Not mow a regional option for many who would like to choose it.
Answer - @bradleyea I support parental choice in selection of schools for children, recognise value of Int sector along with all sectors #AskDE
Question 11 - from @rickyp119
Protestant schls don't teach GAA. Catholic schls dont teach cricket. Do U think more could be done to increase cultural...
Answer - @rickyp119 I don’t want to name names, schools decide. I accept your point but schools have flexibility and I want to preserve that #AskDE
Question 12 - from @rickyp119
Do you think GCSEs have now been devalued to the point of being meaningless? http://tinyurl.com/6y8u7md #askde
Question 13 - from @jasonfisher6
#ASKDE Minister prove that this audit is not a numbers game and you're not targeting the most vulnerable with most to lose
Question 14 - from @jasonfisher6
#ASKDE @niexecutive why are you allowing the SEELB to prevent Ballykeigle primary school from getting a new principal?
Answer - @Jasonfisher6 Appointment of principal is a matter for the SEELB. Principal is in place in Ballykeigle PS on a shared arrangement #AskDE
Question 15 - from @kiplisburn
Answer - @kiplisburn Assembly recently endorsed motion on difficulties faced by newly qualified teachers in gaining employment. Details here on niassembly website
Question 16 - from @kiplisburn
#AskDE what can be done to solve the problem of nursery place shortages? Many parents offered places far from home.
Question 17 - from @kiplisburn
#AskDE Will politicians come to an agreement on the way forward with regards to post primary transfer? What is the next step?
Question 18 - from @redriding
Could I please #askDE the minister if he is aware of the proposals currently in process with a view to the closure of...
Answer - @redriding this issue would be better dealt with by letter as you have raised several concerns. DM me your details #AskDE
Question 19 - from @nocuts2011
#askDE. What has happened to the £250 that workers who earn under £21000pa were supposed to get?
Question 20 - from @helenhamill
school inspections are announced? they don't reflect reality of day to day provision. drop-in effective measure. tool? #askDE
Answer - @helenhamill All inspection matters are kept under review. The day to day work of a school is monitored via District Inspector visits #AskDE
Question 21 - from @kylep77
#askDE @niexecutive In cases of school closures, will Mr O’Dowd be able to reallocate those teachers who are left jobless?
Question 22 - from @ransom_stoddard
Why is more money spent on maintaining grammar school standards rather than improving standards at the lower end #askDE
Answer - @ranson_stoddard Grammars not funded more than other schools. Schools with greater challenges given additional support #AskDE
Question 23 – from @davidwkerr
Does the Minister think post-primary education should allow children to pursue vocational subjects from 14yrs rather than academic? #AskDE
Question 24 - from @helenhamill
INSET is very costly and schools have use SEN budget to provide assistants. So teachers may have no INSET. Enforceable #askDE
Answer - @helenhamill New SEN resource file free to every school in Learning NI. Detailed info on teaching SEN based on outstanding practice #AskDE
Question 25 - from @davidwkerr
Education systems in other EU countries is there one system the Minister admires more than any other & we cld learn from? #AskDE
Question 26 - from @jsni
With your background as a culinary expert - What 3 people would you have to your dinner party? #AskDe
From @niexecutive - That’s it for John O’Dowd’s live Q&A. We hope you found it useful and engaging. Thanks for all the Qs, sorry if yours wasn’t answered. #AskDE