12 Sep

NI Citizens’ Assembly pilot to go ahead

NI Citizens' Assembly pilot to go The first Citizens’ Assembly for Northern Ireland is to go ahead next month, it has been confirmed.

Funding for the group was first made available in January. It will meet over two weekends, starting at the end of October.

The body will be made up of people selected at random by different methods, reflecting the make-up of Northern Ireland society.

Its first debate will be about Northern Ireland’s adult social care system.

The group, made up of between 50 and 100 people, will run like the assembly that currently operates in the Republic of Ireland.


22 Aug

Lollipop men and women removal proposal ‘unpalatable’

Lollipop men and women removal proposal 'unpalatable'The Education Authority (EA) has considered removing all “lollipop men and women” in an effort to save money.

However EA board members regarded that proposal – and other potentially controversial savings measures – as “unpalatable”.

The board also decided any decision to make such cuts should be down to the Department of Education (DE).

The revelation comes in a letter from the EA to the department seen by BBC News NI.

It states that the EA faces an estimated funding gap of £58m in 2018/19.


16 Aug

Northern Ireland A-level results: Lagan College triplets get matching results

Northern Ireland A-level results: Lagan College triplets get matching resultsThere was a triple celebration at Lagan College in south Belfast where triplets Nancy, Hannah and Jack Eaton received exactly the same results – two Bs and a C.

Nancy got her grades in English, politics and French and is planning to take a year out before going on to Queen’s University Belfast to study global politics, while her sister Hannah took sociology, media studies and health and social care, and is hoping to study nursing.

Jack got his grades in software systems, media studies and business studies and is planning to go on to study software engineering at Liverpool John Moores University.


2 Aug

1,400 teachers made redundant in Northern Ireland over past three years

1,400 teachers made redundant in Northern Ireland over past three yearsMore than 1,400 school staff have been made redundant in the last three years in schools across Northern Ireland.

Some 692 teachers and 738 support staff have gone since 2015.

A total of 164 teachers have been made redundant this year alone, according to figures from the Department of Education.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan, who obtained the statistics, said it revealed a “crisis in the education system”.

In total, 1,430 staff have been made redundant since 2015.


2 Aug

Education system ‘facing severe financial challenges’

Education system 'facing severe financial challenges'Northern Ireland’s education system is under “considerable strain” and faces “severe financial challenges”, according to a senior civil servant.

The Department of Education’s top official, Derek Baker, made the comments in the accounts for 2017-18, which have just been published.

The Education Authority overspent its budget by about £19m last year.

That is mainly due to increased spending on schools and pupils with special educational needs.

It follows a similar overspend by the Education Authority in 2016-17 for which it was criticised by the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

Mr Baker said that schools were facing unprecedented pressures and an increasing number were moving into financial deficit.


27 Jul

It is time for an independent, root-and-branch review of education

From Ken Cathcart, Chair of the IEF
Letter in The News Letter, 26 July 2018

It is time for an independent, root-and-branch review of educationAs the summer term ended, it seems we heard only bad reports from the NI education system. Schools are in desperate financial straits and principals have united to highlight the effects of budget cuts. These effects are also felt by parents.

As the NI Children’s Commissioner pointed out in her ‘Cost of Education’ report late last year, parents subsidise our “free” education system, spending more than £1000 a year on school-related costs.

Letters The burden on families is getting heavier. A survey commissioned by the IEF from independent polling company LucidTalk in February asked parents for any examples of the impact of the financial crisis in schools.

Read more here https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/opinion/it-is-time-for-an-independent-root-and-branch-review-of-education-1-8581614

The survey commissioned by the IEF, Northern Ireland Attitudinal Poll 2018, is available here.

Our Alternative Manifesto is available here.