Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Bangor - Councillor Peter J. Martin

DUP Councillors call for complete halt on School cuts

Monday 17th March 2014

The Education Minister John O’Dowd last year signaled his intent to change part of the Common Funding Scheme for schools. This change was widely opposed by teachers, principals, parents and in fact more than three–quarters of 15,000 submissions to the Department of Education’s public consultation were against the changes. Specifically in North Down the majority of our schools were due to lose funding, some up to £35,000.

The Education Minister John O’Dowd last year signaled his intent to change part of the Common Funding Scheme for schools. This change was widely opposed by teachers, principals, parents and in fact more than three–quarters of 15,000 submissions to the Department of Education’s public consultation were against the changes. Specifically in North Down the majority of our schools were due to lose funding, some up to £35,000. We of course fully support extra measures for schools in areas of social need but this should not be at the cost of other schools budgets. Very recently, in response to unprecedented political and civic opposition John O’Dowd announced that these cuts would offset this year but gave no assurance to school Principals for the future. 

Cllr Martin 

“The Education Minister has made clear that this ‘contingency fund’ for schools [due to have their budgets cut] will only last a year. This position of financial limbo that schools have now been left in is wholly unacceptable. These cuts, if they come in 2015, could mean teachers losing jobs and the possible reduction of special needs support in our schools. In Stormont the DUP strongly opposed these proposed changes so I am glad that our motion in Council will clearly indicate North Downs opposition to any future reduction in our schools budgets. We are calling for future funding schemes to be fair, sustainable and command widespread support among schools” 

Cllr Cathcart 

“If these reforms went ahead as planned by the Minister, North Down Primary Schools as a whole would have suffered a net loss of £180,000. Budget restrictions would inevitably result in cutbacks to teaching and resources, threatening educational standards in our local schools. Whilst the decision to postpone the cuts is welcome, it only marks a ‘stay of execution’ as the Minister is still intending to push through these reforms next year. The effects of social disadvantage on educational outcomes remains a crucial challenge. It will however, require a long term strategic, cross–departmental approach not simply a re–allocation of school funding

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