Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Bangor - Councillor Peter J. Martin

Update on education cuts

Saturday 14th January 2012

On the 28th of November 2011 school principals were informed their financial allocation would be reduced by 5% this year, around 2% more than they expected. I immediately wrote to the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, expressing my concern at the reduction and pointing out the impact this would have on schools in North Down.

On the 28th of November 2011 school principals were informed their financial allocation would be reduced by 5% this year, around 2% more than they expected. I immediately wrote to the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, expressing my concern at the reduction and pointing out the impact this would have on schools in North Down. He wrote back stating that the problem, amongst other things, were the cuts imposed by the British Government. The irony is not lost on me that if that particular Sinn Fein Minister got his way we would be looking at a £9.7 billion gap in funding due to the loss of the block grant from the Treasury. It would, in effect, make this reduction look like chicken feed! 

Since I received the letter last week I have spoken to all the Primary School principals in my area and also the Headmaster of Bangor Grammar. All are very concerned about the cuts and point to loss of jobs, concurrent morale problems and also greater class sizes which runs in contrast to the directives from the Department about maximum sizes. Our teachers in Northern Ireland work extremely hard to deliver high quality education in all sectors and they need supported at every level. In December I also tabled a motion in Council stating our opposition to these cuts and the effect that they will have on the children and young people of North Down; it will be debated this week. 

I am glad that last week the Finance Minister, has been able to reallocate £120 million to the sector and this will alleviate some of the immediate pressure. However one further measure John O’Dowd could take is to stop the pointless translation into Gaelic of all DE documents which has already cost the tax payer over 7 teachers salaries

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