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Sinn Féin welcome Education budget

6 March, 2009 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin MLA and education spokesperson John O'Dowd has welcomed todays Education budget signalling it as the way forward for a progressive and adaptable education system.

Speaking today Mr O'Dowd said:

"I support the Education Ministers commitment to enhance educational opportunities for all and this budget is a massive step forward in that. Despite serious issues' regarding funding, which affects all sectors in the current economic climate, education today is a winner.

Overall the budget has increased by almost £38 million from last year. All school pupils, but in particular those in primary level, will see the benefits with an average increase of £266 per pupil in primary schools, with an increase also in the post primary and secondary sectors.

"On top of this parents with children at primary schools will now be able to benefit from the schools uniforms grant scheme.

"Undoubtedly the economic downturn has had a massive impact on low income families, with parents having to make ends meet every day. This move today by Caitríona Ruane as Education Minister recognises this and she has extended the current grant scheme to assist low income parent to buy school uniforms.

"Previously this scheme only caterer for parents who has children at secondary schools. Now the Minister has extended this to the primary school parents which will undoubtedly ease some pressures of low income families and will receive a warm welcome."

"The youth sector will also benefit from today's announcement with a much needed injection of funding into the sustainability of youth worker posts recognising the role youth workers play in extra curricular education and development.

"In all, this budget points the way forward for a progressive and adaptable education system that will benefit all of our young people." CRIOCH

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