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Direct Rule Education Minister challenged over loss of over 500 non-teaching staff

9 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson has challenged Direct Rule Education Minister Angela Smith to justify the loss of over 500 non-teaching staff in the last two years at a cost of over £6m.

The result has been the loss of 72 Staff from 17 schools from the Shankill to the Falls. Michael Ferguson met with Education Minister Angela Smith to discuss the Post Primary Transfer procedures, the impact of the budgets on provision and school transport in the SELB area.

Commenting upon the figures released and the meetings Michael Ferguson said,

"The budget restrictions on spend across the five boards is estimated to be to as much as £100m by 2008 (£31.6m 2004/05, £33.2m 2005/06 with similar amounts in 2006/07). Across the 5 Education Boards this has resulted in the loss of over 500 non teaching staff and in areas across like West Belfast the loss of 72 staff from 17 schools with redundancy costs in excess of £6m and an incalculable loss to the educational attainment of our children.

"I fail to see how the British Government and its ministers seriously propose to boost confidence in any new post primary transfer procedures when our educational resource has never been so diminished, the moral of our teachers so low and their stress so high.

"The proposed investment by Peter Hain in Education for 2007/08 pails into insignificance given the current diminishing resource which increases with every redundancy never mind what we really need to support the change we require. We need a real budget to support education and learning and we need a real local Administration to begin that process of investment and change." ENDS

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