The Northern Ireland Audit Office Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr Kieran Donnelly, today published his report to the Northern Ireland Assembly on the financial health of schools. The report examines the extent to which schools have been able to manage within their delegated budget for the period 2012-13 to 2016-17 and whether schools’ surpluses or deficits are within the limits set by the Education Authority. The report also considers the actions and initiatives being taken by the Department of Education and the Education Authority to address the financial issues currently facing schools.
Commenting on the report, Mr. Donnelly said: “This report indicates an environment where there is pressure on school budgets, increasing pupil numbers and schools with sustainability issues. Therefore, it is clear the system is coming close to a tipping point and action needs to be taken as a matter of urgency”
Reflecting on the findings within the report, Mr. Donnelly said “The Department of Education and the Education Authority need to undertake a fundamental review of how schools are funded as well as ensuring the implementation of recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee in its report on the Sustainability of Schools.”
Mr. Donnelly added “The Department of Education and the Education Authority also need to ensure appropriate and effective interventions are developed and applied to reduce the risk of mismanagement of delegated budgets as well as ensuring mechanisms are in place to strengthen financial management in schools.”
The full report, Key Facts and Media release can be found on the Northern Ireland Audit Office website here.
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