O’Dowd announces £40million extra for schools budget
Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has announced that he has reallocated £10million / £15million / £15million into the schools budget over the next three years.
The Minister commented: “Following decisions on Budget 2010 which present major challenges for education over the period to 2014-15, my predecessor formulated a Savings Delivery Plan to realise the significant savings required. The intention was to protect frontline services as much as possible. Because of the scale of the Aggregated Schools Budget (ASB) it was impossible to protect it totally and the Savings Delivery Plan predicated savings of £27million / £85million / £114million / £180million.
“I have been conscious of the challenge this will pose for Boards of Governors under the Local Management of Schools framework. I have looked again at the ASB and have reallocated £10million / £15million / £15million into the schools budget over the next three years. I am however not relenting on exploring the scope for further savings and have asked officials to carry out a review right across the education budget with the primary focus being to deliver additional funding for the classroom to benefit our children and young people.
“I am confirming today the funding available for the Aggregated Schools Budget over the next three years. While individual school budgets for 2012/13 will not be available until early in the new year, the budgets I am announcing today will provide early confirmation to schools of their anticipated funding levels going forward. This will ensure that schools have the clarity and certitude they need to properly plan to ensure that they live within their future budget allocations. Funding authorities will now be asked by the Department to immediately engage with their schools to assess the implications. Under the Local Management of Schools framework, it will be for the Board of Governors of each school to revisit their School Development Plan and to consider and determine the action needed for them to remain within budget limits. The responsibility to rigorously monitor school spend against these plans will rest with the relevant funding authority.”
The Minister concluded: “Clearly many schools will have difficult choices to make but this early notification of future budgets should allow them to make informed decisions and plan for the future. I will continue to argue the case for further investment in the future to help alleviate pressures on the education budget.”