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Sinn Féin MLA meets School Heads to discuss impact of budget cuts

15 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson will meet the South Eastern Secondary Heads Association, at Stormont today, Wednesday 15th February at 11.30am to discuss the impact of budget cuts and the loss of teaching staff as 80 more teachers set to go in the SEELB area.

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson and his Advisory Forum have began a round of discussions and talks with schools as educationalists brace themselves for another round of financial cuts by the British Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith.

Sinn Féin's Education & Library Board Representatives (ELB) have been writing to schools all schools across traditional fault lines, Catholic Maintained and the Controlled sector as well as Irish Schools, Integrated and Voluntary Grammar outlining Sinn Fein's policy in relation to the current British Government Policy. In addition ELB reps have offered meetings and support.

Last year saw Sinn Fein line engage in protests across the Six Counties against the loss of patrol crossings, class room assistants, school transport and Sinn Fein have promised that they will not allow any cover for anyone who seeks to hide in committee and cut school services.

Commenting upon today's meeting and days before he will address his party's Annual Conference Sinn Fein's Education Spokesperson said,

" I will be meeting with the South Eastern Secondary Heads Association at Stormont to discuss the current crisis within our education system brought on by the current direct rule ministers budget cuts and the pending loss of as many as another 80 teachers in this Board area alone. We will also discuss Special Needs, curriculum innovation and falling rolls the later of which has been used as an excuse to slash budgets instead of using the better teacher pupil ratio for improving special needs provision addressing the numeracy and literacy deficit and facilitating the new entitlement framework.

"I will also be assuring these principals that Sinn Fein will not be policy a British budget and a strategy that is eroding our education system compounding historic under funding. I will also be urging them to join with us in demanding that the British and Dublin Governments trigger d'Hondt and put the Assembly back in place as the only way to secure a real budget to support education and learning" ENDS

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