19 Sep

NI schools’ £62m overspend highlights ‘perilous’ financial situation

NI schools' £62m overspend highlights 'perilous' financial situationSchools in Northern Ireland overspent budgets by more than £62m in 2019.

More than 450 schools are also in the red, according to figures from the Education Authority (EA). This figure has been rising in recent years.

The EA clarified the financial position of schools in response to an enquiry from the UUP MLA Rosemary Barton.

There are just over 1,000 schools in Northern Ireland, all of which are given a yearly budget allocation by the EA.

Most of their funding is based on pupil numbers, but there are a number of other factors that decide how much money they get.

Collectively, 451 schools went over budget by a total of £62.6m in the 2018/19 school year.

The bulk of a school’s budget is spent on employing teaching staff.


18 Sep

School transport consultation finds support for charges

School transport consultation finds support for chargesThere is “broad support” for parents to pay a charge for home to school transport.

That is one of the findings of an initial consultation by the Department of Education (DE) into school transport.

However respondents also said any fee would have to be accompanied by an expansion of the service.

No major changes can be made to school transport policy, though, in the absence of a minister.


16 Sep

School principals set to vote on strike action

A union representing the majority of school principals in Northern Ireland has begun to ballot its members on industrial action.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Northern Ireland represents principals and vice-principals in around two-thirds of 1,150 schools in the Province.

Members are now being asked if they would back either strike action or action short of a strike.

The vote, which opened today, will close on September 30.

The union had previously indicated it would go ahead with the ballot unless concerns about increased workload, school support and the inspection process were addressed.


9 Sep

Northern Ireland’s Schools Still Aren’t Integrated

Northern Ireland’s Schools Still Aren’t IntegratedNorthern Ireland has always been a place apart, radically different from the rest of the United Kingdom. Recent developments have only made this divide starker.

…However, there is hope out there; it just isn’t coming from the North’s established political leaders. A grassroots movement to desegregate Northern Ireland’s education system is gaining traction, led by parents and teachers.

Segregation in education is one of the biggest and most enduring legacies of Northern Ireland’s troubled past. According to the most recent public data, 93 percent of the province’s children attend segregated schools—that is, schools that overwhelmingly educate children from only a Catholic or a Protestant background.


6 Sep

NI school principals to consider industrial action

NI school principals to consider industrial actionA union representing school principals is to ballot members in Northern Ireland about industrial action.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has said it has served legal notion of its intention to ballot members.

A spokesperson said: “The areas of dispute focus on workload, the inspection process, consultation and support for schools.”

NAHT(NI) President Geri Cameron said: “The past eight years have placed school leaders under intolerable strain. Continued industrial action by teaching staff during this time, coupled with a lack of a functioning executive for the past three years, have pushed NAHT(NI) members to their limit.


5 Sep

Conservative-DUP deal: NI schools received £58m

Conservative-DUP deal: NI schools received £58mStormont’s Department of Education has received just over £58m since 2017 from the confidence-and-supply arrangement between the DUP and Conservatives.

The pact, agreed in June 2017, included a proposed extra £1bn in spending for Northern Ireland over two years.

The department has published an analysis of what was received and how it was spent.

With an annual budget of almost £2bn, education is one of the larger Stormont departments.

However, a number of recent studies have highlighted real-terms cuts and pressures faced by schools and other bodies in the education sector.


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