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Classroom assistants to lose jobs, says trade union

By Rebecca Black

All the classroom assistants at a primary school in Carrickfergus have been told they will lose their jobs if proposed cuts to the education system go ahead, a trade union has claimed.

Earlier this month it was revealed that 2,500 teachers and support staff will lose their jobs if the current draft budget is approved in January.

The Department of Education has to make nearly £200 million of savings under the draft budget allocations published last month.

Annual resource spending will be slashed by £162m and capital building works cut by £36m.

On average each school in Northern Ireland will lose £66,000.

That is the equivalent of three teachers' salaries.

This week all the classroom assistants at Carrickfergus Model Primary School were told that they may not be kept on if the proposed cuts are implemented.

The same situation is likely to occur in schools across the province.

The GMB trade union also claimed that Carrickfergus Grammar staff had been told that the school must find £200,000 in savings if the proposed cuts are introduced.

GMB official John Dawson told the Belfast Telegraph that the cuts will affect an estimated six staff at Carrickfergus Model Primary due to a 6% reduction in the budget of the school.

It is understood that classroom assistants for children who have statemented special needs may be safe, as they are paid from a different budget.

Mr Dawson said this was just the case in one school, and could be replicated in schools across the province if the proposed cuts go through.

"There is going to be a possibility of at least 2,500 jobs cut in the education sector - 1,000 teachers and 1,500 non-teaching staff," he said.

"From the reverberations coming down the line, it could mean even more jobs lost.

"A lot of schools are going to face the same fate, this is just the tip of the iceberg in the education sector. The staff in Carrick are devastated and demoralised."

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