‘Schools have already cut as much as they can’ says Ulidia head

Michael Houston, principal, of Ulidia Integrated College.
Michael Houston, principal, of Ulidia Integrated College.

A public meeting will take place at Victoria Primary School, in Carrick, on December 3, to discuss the financial crisis in the education sector.

The meeting is being organised by the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers) trade union.

Kieran Mulvenna, principal, of Carrickfergus Grammar School.

Kieran Mulvenna, principal, of Carrickfergus Grammar School.

The union says that the meeting is an opportunity for parents, school staff and governors to make their voices heard on funding for education.

A spokesperson for NAHT stated: “Northern Ireland Affairs Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into education funding in NI. In the absence of a functioning Stormont Assembly, this inquiry is an important opportunity for local school principals, school staff, parents and governors to highlight the impact of funding cuts on education and what this means for children.

“NAHT(NI) contend that investment in education must be a priority; a recent government report highlighted that funding for education has decreased by ten per cent over a five year period yet the school population has risen by 2.5 per cent in the same time frame.

“This situation is unacceptable. In order to protect the future of our education system and ensure that every child’s needs are met, we must have a properly funded education system.”

Commenting on the funding crisis in schools, Michael Houston, principal, of Ulidia Integrated College, stated: “School funding is not keeping up with the rising costs schools face on a daily basis.

“Our young people’s educational needs must be financially prioritised at the highest levels if we are to properly prepare them to compete in a global careers market. Northern Ireland’s schools have already cut as much as they can and a lot more than they should ever have had to.”

Kieran Mulvenna, principal of Carrickfergus Grammar School, said: “To withhold funding from education is a false economy. Northern Ireland’s future is in the hands of our young people and to limit our pupils’ education is to squander our province’s most precious resource.

“Education is currently in crisis. This crisis is the result of inadequate funding of the Department of Education by central government, insufficient funding of schools by DE and a financially and educationally unviable schools’ estate.

“Unless the latter two are addressed, there will have to be a significant uplift in allocation of funds to DE to sustain the current system. This would mean an increased allocation of resources to schools through the aggregated schools’ budget. As things stand, a whole generation of pupils will not have the same opportunities as their parents and a generation of teachers is facing early burn-out through multiple demands made on their time and energy.”

The meeting will be held from 4.00 pm until 5.00 pm.