SDLP Spokesperson for Education, Sean Rogers MLA has called on the Department of Education to increase savings by delegating more financial autonomy to schools. Speaking in the Assembly Chamber, Mr Rogers detailed how savings made in administration could be used to increase spending in the classroom to further focus on STEM subjects, support the Early Years Fund develop Youth Services.
He said: “I have consistently argued that the main priority for this assembly and its approach to education should be delivering within the classroom. I believe that Northern Ireland must be consistently raising the standards in the proper provision of education and that in order to do so there must be a consistent strategy and balanced funding for all levels of a child’s development.
“Education forms the building blocks of our society and our economy and it is through education that our children and Young people will develop their attitudes and views of the world. Education remains essential for gaining the tools necessary to build a fulfilling future. I call on the Minister to use this money wisely and effectively.
“Sound financial management can empower our schools and other institutions to meet the educational needs of all young people. Through local management, the large majority of schools have demonstrated that they are capable of sound financial management. I have no doubt if the other aspects of their budget was delegated they could do a much better job at ensuring value for money.
“I have spoken many times about the procurement process for general maintenance. Schools could save thousands here and redirect these fund to where the need is greatest, the classroom. With less money tied up in Administration at the Department of Education and Authority level, then primary schools could deploy resources in areas of curricular need, starting with STEM subjects.
“Educational funding must make proper provision for young people in order to help them reach the highest possible standards of educational achievement and as outlined by the estimate, to grant them a secure foundation for not only lifelong learning and employment but develop their values and attitudes so that they may help bring in new prosperity to Northern Ireland.”