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Local schools call for public opposition to education cuts

December 22, 2014

In light of the proposed substantial cuts to Northern Ireland’s education budget, the Principals of nine local schools have issued a joint statement calling for the public to voice their opposition by responding to the Department’ consultation on the issue.

The statement which outlines the government’s draft budget proposals “to devalue our children” reads:

“The Department of Education has recently published its draft budget proposals for 2015-2016. There is a proposed reduction in the aggregate schools budget of 8% for Primary Schools and 7% for Secondary Schools. These proposed cuts will negatively impact on every school, classroom and pupil in this community.

“The manifestation of the proposed cuts is that each child walking through the doors of our schools is to be devalued in real monetary terms. Devaluing of pupils is in clear contradiction of the Department Of Education’s ability to deliver their stated priorities namely:

• Raising standards for all

• Closing the performance gap, increasing access and equity

• Developing the education workforce

• Improving the learning environment

“Ultimately these strategic priorities cannot be achieved if the proposed cuts are to be implemented. The schools in this community are committed to providing a first class education for the children in our care. However the proposed cuts will result in:

• Larger class sizes in all schools /  larger pupil teacher ratio

• Fewer resources for children

• Reduced special needs and other support for children with learning difficulties

• Damage to education prospects of children

• Severe reduction in supply cover with classes having to be put together when teachers are absent

• Fewer teachers and support staff in schools

• Damage to the overall economic prosperity of the entire community

• Rise in unemployment levels

“If these unprecedented draft budget proposals are imposed on our impoverished communities, the capacity of our schools to facilitate the aspirations of our young people to take their place in the world where they can make a positive contribution will be undermined.

“We urge everyone concerned to voice their opposition to this draft budget by canvassing  your elected representatives and making them aware of your opinions and  by responding  to the Department’s own consultation  by 29th December at budgetconsultation@deni.gov.uk  or write to:

Budget Consultation

Dept of Education

Rathgael House

43 Balloo Rd

Rathgill

Bangor  BT19 7PR

Principals Anna Shields – Anamar PS,  Christopher Murray – Clonalig PS, Paul Quinn -St. Michael’s PS, Newtownhamilton, Mary Keating – St Brigid’s Glassdrummond, John Jones – St. Joseph’s High School, Crossmaglen, Peter McDonnell – St. Mary’s PS Mullaghbane, Kevin Woods – St. Oliver’s PS, Carrickrovaddy, Pat O’Hanlon – St. Patrick’s Cullyhanna, Michael Madine – St. Patrick’s PS (in Irish Medium Unit) Crossmaglen.

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