Sinn Féin - On Your Side

New Education Review should not cause more problems for Teachers

9 March, 2006

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson has questioned the terms of reference of the Education Review recommended by British Secretary of State Peter Hain less than 48 hours after the closure of the consultation into the Education Draft Order.

The Review to be lead by Sir George Bain former Vice Chancellor of QUB will examine how it is organised and paid for. Michael Ferguson said:

"The announcement of this review on the eve of the NAUSWT Conference will increase the worries of a teaching profession whose moral is at an all time low and stress levels at an all time high because they have already been asked to manage a huge amount of change without any agreed strategy or resources to implement them

"The majority of teachers welcome the ending of academic selection, can see value in specialist schools, support the new entitlement framework, extended schools and greater focuses on citizenship but wonder how they are expected to rationalise such change.

"Teachers are also expected to meet the demands of mainstreaming the new special needs order in the face with an increasing number of assaults on teachers (364 last year) and yet in the BELB area alone £1m is being reduced from the Special needs budget and teachers are being haemorrhaged from the system at an alarming rate, with over 525 losing their jobs in the last two years leading to bigger class sizes.

„The Teaching profession needs support and not the threat of another 800 job losses this coming financial year as even greater cuts to budgets are introduced. The Education system needs stability with falling rolls becoming a positive change that allows for the management of change reinforced by greater investment. This Review needs to reassure the teaching profession that it will not legitimise any more reductions in services or offer succour to those who want to retain academic selection an social segregation." ENDS

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