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Stormont impasse has become detrimental for our schoolchildren - Barton

Ulster Unionist Education Spokesperson Rosemary Barton MLA has warned the quality of front-line teaching will soon be impacted as a result of the growing crisis in school funding.

Rosemary Barton, a former teacher for over 30 years, said:

“The comments from Sara Long that ‘no more’ can be done in some schools to save money is grim but not totally surprising.

“There has been a real terms cut of 13% - £245m - in the Department of Education’s resource budget from 2010. Growing pupil numbers, increasing demand for special educational needs provision and overall growing costs each year have combined to create a perfect storm for local schools. 

“That is why so many have been forced to cut costs in almost every area. Class sizes have grown, extra-curricular activities have been cancelled and essential staff have unfortunately been let go. Yet, despite all those actions, a record number of schools are now being left with no choice but to go into deficit and spend money that they do not have.

“The financial crisis in our schools is now so serious, and the debts for some individual schools so large, that I am really concerned that the situation for some may be unrecoverable.

“Much like our health service, the crisis in our education system is getting worse every month. The longer it takes for decisions to be taken, the harder the problem will be to resolve.

“Once again, in the shameful absence of a local Executive, our Secretary of State has shown himself unable and unwilling to intervene to take some much needed control of the situation.”

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