DUP Education Spokesperson Peter Weir MLA has launched proposals to tackle the schools funding crisis. The ‘Frontline First’ proposals are a package aimed at resolving the crisis faced by schools.
Commenting on the proposals, the Strangford MLA said,
“Government has a key responsibility to ensure our children are given the best start and the chance to develop to their full potential. Education is key to unlocking that potential, and despite the great efforts of our school leaders, teachers, students and parents that has been hampered by the financial position schools currently find themselves in. We believe it is critical not only that adequate resources are allocated to education but also to target this to frontline services.
The crisis in school funding is very real and has not happened overnight. It was the most pressing problem I faced as Minister, and I was able to divert in year £14m of funding directly to schools. Through the Confidence and Supply Agreement we were able to lever an additional £36 million in 2018/9 for education.
Efforts to improve the situation have been impeded by the collapse of the Executive by Sinn Fein. It was particularly irresponsible of them to wreck government without even setting future budgets. The impact has been to deprive education of political direction and reduce impetus and opportunity for change.
Our policy goes beyond acknowledging the problem and offers real practical solutions to the school funding crisis. This has to be systemic and strategic and cannot be brought about overnight. There is no silver bullet to solve our problem nor is a blank cheque for education realistic.
The route map to get schools’ finance back on an even keel is a cocktail of some additional focused financial support for education, some reallocation of resources and the need for reform. Our proposals outline this combination.
Taken as a package these proposals can over time begin to resolve the funding crisis faced by schools. They would be best implemented in a restored Executive which could ensure political leadership and impetus. We appeal to other parties to join us in prioritising restoration and tackling this issue ahead of other more peripheral concerns. However in the absence of restoration we urge the Secretary of State to work alongside the Department of Education in implementing these proposals to alleviate the crisis in education,”
You can download the document here.
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