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Hain accused of spinning education spending

5 June, 2006

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson MLA has said that every penny allocated to schools at the present time is welcome but that announcing and re-announcing the same package of funding gives the impression that Peter Hain is more focused on spin than delivering long-term sustainable funding.

Commenting upon the announcement Mr Ferguson said,

"Any announcement of additional money to schools is most welcome but this is not really additional money but rather a miniscule return of a portion of the money already deducted from school budgets. Peter Hain should catch himself on. Rather than trying to spin the financial situation facing schools he should focus on delivering long-term sustainable funding.

"To put the figures Peter Hain is talking about into perspective, the loss of one teacher reduces the school budget by over £20,000 a year and many schools have lost more than one teacher. The loss of a teacher leads to larger class sizes and often forces school principals into both teaching and management, so an average of £1,700 per school is peanuts.

"The funding of Extended School Projects and Community in School Programmes are taken for granted as mainstream provision in England and Wales. Head Teachers may well feel obliged to say thank you to this meagre allocation but not one of them feel that the British Government is doing a good job. Indeed, Head Teachers feel they have been abandoned, forced to implement the
largest number of changes in the history of educational provision while this successive Direct Rule Ministers squander the opportunities that falling rolls offer and the promise that the new educational reform could bring.

"We need a local Assembly with local accountable Ministers and it is time the DUP caught themselves on because while they fiddle about the educational entitlement of our children is being eroded." ENDS

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