‘Small schools must not be discriminated against’ – Rogers
SDLP MLA for South Down Sean Rogers has said that small schools must be protected from cuts following a statement by the Minister for Education John O’Dowd on the Common Funding Scheme.
Speaking to Newry Times, Rogers stated, “The statement from the Minister is based on what he calls his desire to promote strong and vibrant schools; however I am deeply concerned that the scheme will adversely impact upon small schools.
“The consultation period for this review which ran for a period of 4-5 weeks was totally inadequate. The end product is a review which is scant on detail in respect of Departmental allocation of funding.
“One aspect of the review that is worrying relates to small schools. We are told that those viewed as strategically important small schools will receive the resources they need. It is essential that small schools are not disadvantaged during the approval process.
“In his statement the Minister says that small schools ‘will not be there just because they have always been there but because they represent the best solution for young people in the area’. This indicates a dismissive attitude to a number of small schools which are a great asset to our education system.
Rogers added, “This report will no doubt cause a great deal of stress to small schools. The Minister became exercised when I raised this point with him in the Assembly today and I would urge him not to differentiate between small schools in an arbitrary way.”
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