Schools' common funding formula must deliver equality
Sinn Féin Education, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland, has welcomed the announcement from the direct rule Education minister Barry Gardiner of the launch of a school funding consultation by the Department of Education. The new consultation continues the work initiated by former Education Minister Martin McGuinness who launched a consultation on plans for a common funding formula for schools in 2001.
Mr Hyland said:
"The idea of a common funding formula for all schools is not new but is a welcome move in helping to narrow the funding gap between different educational sectors, particularly between primary and post primary schools. It is vital that this consultation delivers a formula that is robust and able to tackle social deprivation within schools. These moves must also stream line the current over-complicated arrangements and reduce bureaucratic red tape.
"There are still too many children entering the education system who are socially and economically disadvantaged. We need to see a level playing field for funding across all educational sectors and we need to see greater resources targeted towards areas of greatest need and where disadvantage is greatest. The new common funding formula must deliver more action and less rhetoric.
"Sinn Fein advocated this policy 3 years ago when Martin McGuinness set the ball rolling yet it is only now that the direct rule minister is beginning to come to grips with this issue. This is another indication of how direct rule is not working the people in the North of Ireland. The sooner we get the institutions back up and running, the sooner we can get to grips with the inequalities which still exist here." ENDS