“I think it is appalling that the Civil Service has taken the decision to deny funding to SCoTENS – a cross border initiative that covers all aspects of teacher training. This is an organisation – the only such network that exists – that seeks to foster the wellbeing of teachers from all across this island by bringing them together on a cross border basis through conferences and research projects. It also allows student teachers from Dublin and Belfast to get much needed teacher training experience in cross border schools.
“In these days of uncertainty over the future of north-south relations in the face of Brexit it seems a very political decision that has been taken. I think it is disingenuous to suggest that funding should be denied on the basis of financial constraints when you consider that this body only received £25,000 in funding from the north and a similar figure from the south. How such a figure cannot be found is beyond me.
“These are decisions that a minister should be taking. In the absence of a Stormont Executive I appreciate the hard work the civil service is engaged in, however, it sets a dangerous precedent when an unelected official takes a decision to end funding for such a cross border initiative as this when we are trying to do all that we can to enhance north south relations.
“Therefore, I shall be writing to the Permanent Secretaries of the Department for Education and the Department of the Economy and to David Sterling to implore that this funding is reinstated as a matter of urgency. If this is denied it will only raise further questions.”
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