‘Education chief’s warnings are nothing new to school principals’ – Newry MLA

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Thursday, August 9th, 2018
Politics

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty has said the warnings from the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education, Derek Baker are nothing new to school principals, teachers and Boards of Governors.

Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty explained, “For a significant part of ten years now, school leaders have been crying out for investment in our education system. 

 

 

“They have been appealing to Minister after Minister for real investment, in buildings, teaching staff, support staff and classroom resources but these pleas have been ignored.

“This week’s intervention by Derek Baker should signal alarm bells right across our community. I believe he is sending a signal that significant financial pain is coming down the tracks and he is preparing the ground for huge cuts. Already £200million has been withdrawn from the education budgets since 2011.

He continued, “We have had many school build projects announced by previous Ministers but they have yet to materialise. Classroom sizes are getting bigger with composite classes becoming more common. Teachers are being made redundant and so are classroom assistants.

 

 

“Our education system is in crisis. School leaders have been warning of this crisis for a number of years and it was ignored. Just this week it was confirmed that in the last four years 692 teachers have been made redundant with 738 support staff having also lost their jobs. 

“This is an appalling not alone for the teachers and support staff, but for the school children who’s education is being impacted.

McNulty added, “This should be a wakeup call to communities, but no more so than the leadership of the DUP and Sinn Fein. Whilst the two largest parties here continue to fight and bicker with each other, school children are being let down. We need Ministers in office to make decisions, to prioritise investment in schools. This cannot continue.”

 

 


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