6 Feb

Schools require £400m for maintenance on top of £400m needed to keep system going

Schools require £400m for maintenance on top of £400m needed to keep system goingThe repair bill for the backlog of school maintenance in Northern Ireland currently stands at £400m – although another £400m is needed to keep the under-pressure education system going as it is.

The stark figure was presented to the Stormont education committee yesterday by the Education Authority (EA).

The committee heard that the £400m maintenance cost to ensure all schools operate at a modern standard equates to 1,600 schemes yet to be completed.


3 Feb

We don’t know enough about academic selection – ScopeNI

We don’t know enough about academic selection - ScopeNIA comprehensive study on the effects of academic selection in Northern Ireland is needed. A new report from Stranmillis University College’s Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement shows why.

Educational inequality is a mainstay of schooling in Northern Ireland.

A lot of local pupils achieve excellent results. A lot do very poorly. The system is one of extremes.

According to new research from the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement (CREU) at Stranmillis University College: “Internationally, a long tail of underachievement belies Northern Ireland’s reputation for producing academically high-achieving pupils, indicating a country-level problem requiring a Northern Ireland-specific focus.”


31 Jan

One in three Northern Ireland primary schools facing costly legal challenges over admissions criteria

One in three Northern Ireland primary schools facing costly legal challenges over admissions criteriaOne in three primary schools are in danger of costly court challenges from disappointed parents after including potentially “legally indefensible” admissions criteria – despite clear warnings.

Two years after a judge banned a school from giving preferential treatment to the children of school staff and its governors, hundreds of schools are continuing to include it and other unreliable selection criteria to award places.

An Irish News investigation has identified more than 260 of Northern Ireland’s 801 primary schools could potentially be found to be discriminating against pupils who have a legal right to P1 places in September 2020.


30 Jan

Priest offers to ‘step aside’ over school delays

Priest offers to 'step aside' over school delaysA County Tyrone priest has offered to “step aside” from his parish over delays to a shared education campus.

Fr John Connolly told parishioners in Moy about his decision at a service at the weekend.

Fr Connolly told BBC News NI that he had offered to move because of concerns about details of the plans.

The Department of Education said it was aware of “sensitivities” around the planned campus.

There have been plans to house a Catholic primary school and a controlled primary in Moy in one building since 2013.

The Department of Education (DE) subsequently approved the new building under the shared education campuses programme in 2014.


29 Jan

Extra £400m needed to boost system – Peter Weir

Extra £400m needed to boost systemEducation in Northern Ireland needs up to £400m more funding a year, according to the minister Peter Weir.

Mr Weir revealed the figure to the education committee at Stormont on Wednesday.

That would represent a 20% increase on the current annual education budget of around £2bn.

Mr Weir also acknowledged to the committee that schools had been wearing “hair shirts” due to considerable pressure on their budgets.

Under questioning from the chair, Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle, Mr Weir said education was facing major resource issues.


28 Jan

Almost £20m reallocated to help pay teachers’ wages

Almost £20m reallocated to help pay teachers' wagesStormont ministers have reallocated almost £20 million to under-pressure education authorities to help them pay teachers’ wages.

The executive has also agreed to provide £1 million to increase support payments for people in Northern Ireland impacted by the infected blood scandal.

Around £1 million will also be spent implementing the recommendations of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which included redress payments, a public apology to victims and a memorial at Stormont.

Almost £3 million will be used to improve street lighting and fund winter services such as gritting, while another £2 million will be invested in the new Belfast Transport Hub.

More than half of the £41 million being reallocated among departments as part of the in-year budget monitoring round will go towards education provision.


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