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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 March 2006, 17:59 GMT
Alliance angry at school decision
Alliance leader David Ford
Alliance leader David Ford criticised the government
The Alliance leader has criticised the government for not living up to its commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to support integrated education.

Alliance supporters met on Saturday for their annual conference.

David Ford told Radio Ulster's Inside Politics that denying funding for four new integrated schools was "bizarre".

"When it's part of the shared future policy it's just completely bizarre for the department to say there are spaces in existing schools," he said.

Earlier this week, Education Minister Angela Smith turned down plans for schools in Clogher Valley, Moira/Hillsborough, Saintfield and funding for an existing independent primary school in Ballycastle.

She said the new schools have been proposed for areas which already have surplus capacity.

Education generic image
Plans for four schools were turned down

Some Alliance Party members have said they will seek to have the decision overturned, and intend to propose an emergency resolution at the party conference.

Party vice-chair Michael Long said the government was leaving parents "stranded" and forcing their children "into segregated schools against their will".

"They talk about parental choice, but yet are refusing to properly fund a sector which is heavily over-subscribed," he said.

The party also debated the political situation at the Dunadry Hotel on Saturday.

Plans for mixed schools refused
02 Mar 06 |  Northern Ireland

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