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Political stalemate limiting educational opportunities for school children

Ulster Unionist Education Spokesperson, Rosemary Barton MLA, has said the decision to slash the funding available to ensure all pupils have access to a sufficient number of subjects is just the latest example of how the political stalemate at Stormont is having a detrimental impact on children and young people.

Rosemary Barton, a former secondary schoolteacher, said:

“It is essential that schoolchildren can access an appropriate range of relevant subjects. The reality in Northern Ireland is that not all schools have big enough enrolments to be able to offer every subject on the curriculum. By coming together with other nearby schools most pupils have been able to access all the academic and vocational subjects needed to obtain the skills required in a modern economy.

“The decision by the Department of Education to slash the funding to facilitate this collaborative approach will be a hammer blow to those pupils. It is simply outrageous that in the twenty first century, when university degrees and educational expectations are constantly shifting and becoming more demanding, many pupils in Northern Ireland are having their choice of subjects substantially reduced.

“It’s obvious that this is just another example of how unaccountable civil servants in the local Department of Education are making cuts without actually realising the impact of their decisions. Just as we saw recently with the foolish attempt to slash the support grant for school uniforms, it’s clear that the only rationale behind this decision is to save money, regardless of the actual impact on pupils and their families. That is what happens when some politicians abdicate their responsibilities.

“For as long as Sinn Fein continue block the formation of an Executive at Stormont, more announcements like this, with negative consequences for school pupils, are inevitable.”

Ulster Unionists