British government block grant reductions now being felt in education - Sheehan
Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has said the impact of the British government’s year-on-year reductions to the block grant was now being felt in the education sector in the North.
The education committee member said;
"Sinn Féin has campaigned to protect core frontline public services, including education, in the face of swingeing year-on-year British government cuts on the Executive's block grant.
"This Tory policy has taken £1.5bn out of the Executive's budget since 2011 with the result that this year's education budget has been cut by almost £100m.
"Facing a reduced budget, John O'Dowd has targeted resources to protect children with special educational needs and to support children in areas of social deprivation.
"As a result of new criteria, an additional 12,000 children will also now be eligible for free school meals and uniform grants.
"In order to protect core frontline services, the minister John O’Dowd has ordered a reduction of nine per cent in the departmental administration.
"Individual schools will make their own decisions on the challenges facing their budgets in the coming months, as will the Education Authority.
"However John O'Dowd is committed to working with education providers to limit the impact of reductions and ensure that any possible redundancies are minimal and voluntary.
"There is also currently £41m in school surpluses and one option open to some schools could be to draw down money from those surpluses."