5 Dec

Northern Ireland schools relying on charities, MPs hear

Northern Ireland schools relying on charities, MPs hearNorthern Ireland schools are relying on charities to deliver essential services for children with mental health problems, a committee of MPs has heard.

Heather Murray, from Millington Primary in Portadown, County Armagh, also said that schools were at “rock bottom”.

Independent MP Lady Hermon said that education in Northern Ireland was in a “shameful situation”.

The comments were made at a Northern Ireland Affairs Committee hearing about education funding

Representatives from the Controlled Schools Support Council (CSSC), Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), NI Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and Governing Bodies Association (GBA) – which represents 50 voluntary grammar schools – were before the committee on Wednesday.


19 Nov

Landmark day for Parkhall Integrated College

Landmark day for Parkhall Integrated Collegemembers to the Board of the Education AuthorityIt was a milestone occasion for the pupils and staff of Parkhall Integrated College in Antrim as the new £20m school was officially opened by Education Authority Chairperson Sharon O’Connor.

The new building brings together all the pupils on site, having previously operated on a split site with the junior campus at Steeple Road and the senior campus at Birch Hill Road. The new school boasts state of the art classroom technology, first class sports facilities and youth and community amenities.


19 Nov

Debt projection puts almost half of NI schools in the red

Debt projection puts almost half of NI schools in the redAlmost half of NI’s schools are in budget deficit, according to new figures obtained by BBC News NI.

The Education Authority (EA) has analysed the financial position of about 1,000 schools for 2018/19.

Its figures show 446 schools are projected to be in the red in 2018. Out of those 446, exactly 352 have seen their deficits increase since 2017/18.

In 2018, for the first time, the EA has put schools into a number of categories depending on their budgetary situation.

In the most serious category, 97 schools have increasing deficits of more than 5% of their total yearly budget and do not meet key sustainability criteria.

Meanwhile, 130 schools have increasing deficits of more than 5% of their total yearly budget but are judged to be sustainable.


8 Nov

Parentkind NI Parent Survey 2018

Parentkind NI Parent Survey 2018Parentkind’s Survey of Parents in Northern Ireland was conducted for the first time this year to give a more robust picture of the views of parents in the region. Many of the topics covered mirror what we have been tracking more broadly through our Annual Parent Survey (APS); however, not only is our sample of parents living in Northern Ireland much larger (1,071 respondents) than the one we polled through the APS, but some of the questions and key demographic breaks have been modified to reflect the specific context of Northern Ireland.

Key findings
The survey found that over two thirds (68%) of parents say they have been asked by their school to contribute to the school fund*, with a monthly average donation of £9.83 being made. Despite this, nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents say they do not know, or are not sure, of how this money is being spent.


1 Nov

These are the 15 schools that could benefit from Hammond’s £300m

These are the 15 schools that could benefit from Hammond's £300m

Fifteen schools could benefit from the £300million Westminster has released for shared and integrated education in Northern Ireland.

The money is part of half a billion that was promised to cross-community education and housing projects under the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement.

£100m had already been paid to the Department of Education from 2016 – but £91m was returned to the Treasury earlier this year because the Department of Education (DE) failed to spend it.

Now joint education groups are urging the DE to use the £300m for 15 projects waiting on the green light for two years.

Northern Ireland education system “coming close to a tipping point”, it is warned

Integrated Education Fund chief Tina Merron said: “We welcome the announcement that the government will move forward with projects worth £300 million as part of their commitment in the Fresh Start Agreement.

“Currently there are 15 integrated schools across NI that have been waiting for more than two years for proposals to progress.”


31 Oct

Primary school head tells Northern Ireland politicians to ‘stop playing pathetic games’

Primary school head tells Northern Ireland politicians to ‘stop playing pathetic games’Four school principals gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs committee at Westminster on Wednesday.

A primary school principal has urged Northern Ireland’s politicians to “set aside petty squabbles” and “stand up for children”.

Graham Gault, head of Maghaberry Primary School in Moira, Co Armagh, said there is “no more time for our politicians to play pathetic games”.

Mr Gault was one of four school principals who gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee at Westminster on Wednesday.

The committee is carrying out an inquiry into education funding in Northern Ireland.

Committee chairman Andrew Murrison said in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive the committee was probing matters that would normally be devolved.


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