Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Education body delay could cost millions

Failure to set up the long-delayed Education and Skills Authority, which was due to start in April, will cost the public purse millions, it has been warned.

For scores of staff would have to be re-hired to work on the current five education area boards, which the Authority is designed to replace along with the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

Education Minister John O’Dowd has confirmed revisions to legislation have not yet been discussed by the Executive.

Mr O’Dowd has asked officials to examine the implications of the five area boards having to continue if agreement cannot be reached. Sinn Fein’s Phil Flanagan told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday: “That is still very much a plan ‘B’. Talks are still going on behind the scenes and they are still hopeful of getting a resolution.”

The Fermanagh MLA, a member of the Assembly education committee, said there was “no doubt” the cost re-employing staff in area boards would run into “multi-millions”.

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