Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Chris Hazzard said today he is delighted that an additional £30m will be spent on education for children living in areas of high deprivation.
Education Minister John O’Dowd had earlier announced new school budgets for the year 2014/15 under a new funding model, which takes social disadvantage into account.
Chris Hazzard said the minister’s initiative is a serious boost for children and schools who need it most.
“The budgets announced today will help direct money into schools with the greatest levels of social need, while ensuring that no other schools lose out,” said Chris Hazzard.
“In total, an additional £26.5 million will be allocated to schools and I congratulate the minister for the leadership he has shown on this issue.
“All the evidence clearly demonstrates that we must target resources at those in greatest need in order to achieve the kind of thriving, sustainable education system we all want to see.
“All the stakeholders agreed with that principle but there were clearly concerns that this could impact on the budget allocations to other schools.”
However, Chris Hazzard said it was clear the minister had listened to those concerns.
“The minister has listened to those concerns and the budgets confirmed today show that no school will lose a penny as a result of the changes to the formula,” said the South Down MLA.
“To achieve that while also targeting significant additional resources at those in greatest need is a considerable achievement and I commend the Minister for the steps he has taken.
“I am sure today’s budget allocations will be welcomed by educationalists and I would urge all schools and communities to continue to work with us as we build on the improvements which have been made year on year under successive Sinn Féin Education Ministers.”