Record figures show that schools in Northern Ireland (NI) undertake far fewer Parliament visits, in comparison to 59 visits from Wales’ schools and 52 from Scotland.
Although transport costs have been provided to NI, UK parliament visits have been the lowest since 2015. In the wake of this situation, the UK Parliament is to recruit a full-time education officer for endorsing work in NI. Education officers have been recruited in nine other regions in England, including Wales, Scotland, etc. The recruitment is likely to take place over summer, alleges a parliamentary spokesperson.
“Currently, the outreach officer for the north-west of England delivers to a very limited number of community events in NI where possible,” according to an internal Parliament document in connection to a full-time officer in Northern Ireland.
The report suggests an officer has to target around 11,000 school children and 700 adults per year. The number of the target group was recorded to be low in comparison in NI; “Nine events in 2017/18 reaching 197 people and a total of 37 children were engaged,” according to a source.
This amounted to only two school groups on an average that made a visit to the Houses of Parliament from Northern Ireland every month, and this was the case despite the travel subsidy of up to £1,600 per group visit.
Moreover, the report suggested 86 visits by Northern Ireland schools to the parliament in 2015, while there were 161 from Scotland and 217 from Wales. The number widely contrasted to the 1000 school visits to the parliament from other regions in England.