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MLA supports Stormont protest by NIPSA

7 February, 2006

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson has issued his support to NIPSA who are protesting at the entrance to the Assembly at Stormont today. Michael joined both NIPSA and Unison on their day of action against cuts to school services last year and again joined NIPSA calling for the promised ‘job evaluation’ that the government had agreed to.   Commenting upon today’s protest Michael Ferguson said,   “ I support NIPSA’s right to proper ‘job evaluations’ for Class Room Assistants and pay accordingly. I also want to highlight the huge loss of Class Room Assistants across the 5 Education Board areas. In West Belfast we have lost over 40 Class Room Assistants since last year from 18 schools.   We are also hemorrhaging teachers which is producing bigger class sizes. One class in a Poleglass School has 30 children 19 of whom have Special Needs with only two Class Room Assistants and a beleaguered teacher.   We need to challenge this notion that falling rolls is a legitimate reason for shedding teachers and Class Room Assistants when it should also us to mainstream special needs because of smaller classes while also addressing the numeracy and literacy deficit.   This government needs to get real about education and rather than make excuses for eroding the educational entitlement of our children and young people, they should either provide a real budget or simply go and lets us do it ourselves.”

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