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MLA Challenges Peter Hain on Review of Education Spending

31 January, 2006


Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson MLA has claimed that the review of public spending announcement expected from Peter Hain today in respect of Education will need to move beyond the rhetoric.

The Education System is haemorrhaging teachers, over 225 in the last two years and already the SEELB are planning to shed another 80 this coming year. The Government have used 'falling rolls' as an excuse to erode our education system instead of support the new curriculum changes announced for post primary education. This will continue while British Direct Rule Ministers are in place and not local Ministers at our own Assembly.

Commenting on Peter Hain's forthcoming statement Michael Ferguson said,

" Falling Rolls offers the Department of Education great opportunities to improve the school provision that we offer but instead the British Government have used it to erode the educational entitlement of our children and young people and redirect investment to schools in England and Wales.

"Falling rolls should allow us the opportunity provide better teacher pupil ratios but instead while pupil numbers are falling class room sizes are rising.

"Falling rolls should allow us to better integrate special needs children into mainstream education as required under the new legislation but instead we have one class in Poleglass with 30 children and 19 of them have special needs.

"Falling Rolls should allow us to address the numeracy and literacy deficit in our schools but we are haemorrhaging teachers loosing 225 in the last two years with hundreds more expected to go as a result of further cuts and last year 23% of school leavers had no qualifications.

"We need our own local Assembly and a local accountable Minister to deliver
a real budget top support education and Learning."ENDS



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