Stormont minister speaks at BPS event

John O'Dowd, minister for education in the Northern Ireland Executive, gave this year's British Psychological Society Northern Ireland Branch Public Lecture in Stanmills earlier week. The lecture took place during the branch's annual general meeting for 2012.

Speaking at the event, Mr O’Dowd said: “I welcome the opportunity to speak directly to practitioners, students and lecturers, to set out my vision for education and stress my commitment to securing improved outcomes for all children.

“My top priority is to create an education service that ensures that all our young people receive a high quality education. Whilst we have much to be proud of in our education system, with many high achieving young people there are also young people who do not reach their full potential and who leave school with little or no qualifications or skills.

“I want to raise standards in all aspects of education and, in doing so, reduce educational underachievement particularly for those young people who face barriers to learning.”

The minister continued by saying if his vision for education is to succeed, consideration must be given to what happens outside of school, particularly in the home learning environment:

“Parental involvement and encouragement can have a direct and long-lasting effect on a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development. As we understand more about the importance of positive and supportive environments and their impact on brain development we understand more clearly how the first years can shape the rest of a child’s life and educational outcomes.”

Read more about the work of our Northern Ireland Branch.