Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Joint statement from Department of Education and BELB

15 October, 2008

The Sinn Féin Minister of Education, Caitriona Ruane, today met with members of the Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) to discuss their budget.

The meeting was arranged following the Board's decision to suspend all future meetings until they met with the Minister and the Permanent Secretary to discuss their concerns about the financial situation of the Board.

Speaking after the meeting the Minister said:

"This is a time when there are real financial pressures in all areas of education and it is important that budgets are properly managed to ensure services to children are not adversely impacted. It was important to meet the Board members and listen to their concerns.

"I have made a bid for additional funding for my Department through the September monitoring round and welcome the all party support from the Board for this bid.

"I am fully aware of the financial position of the Board and my officials have been working closely with them to monitor and assess the situation and they will continue to do so."

The Chairperson of the Belfast Education and Library Board said:

"It was important for Board members to put their concerns directly to the Minister. I am reassured that her officials will continue to work closely with Board officers and hope this process can be accelerated in order for the board to manage the current financial situation. By closer working together we can move towards protecting front line services across the education sector in Belfast.

"We also welcome the commitment to examine the funding for special education needs and the review of the Common Funding Formula." ENDS

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