Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Pledge to schools on unspent money

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane
Education Minister Caitriona Ruane

Schools in Northern Ireland will have access to unspent money from the past and in future, the Education Minister has guaranteed.

There had been uncertainty in schools across Northern Ireland because the Treasury removed millions of pounds of underspend which some head teachers roll over to fill posts such as classroom assistants the following year.

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane met Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to discuss the matter.

A Department of Education statement said: "Both ministers agreed that schools must continue to have access in the future to surpluses which they accumulated through sound financial management.

"The ministers guaranteed to put in place arrangements to ensure that this was the case and that both past and future savings would be honoured."

Earlier this week Ms Ruane wrote to schools warning them to avoid unnecessary expenditure until the matter was resolved.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) warned that axing the end-year funding will cause redundancies this year. But Ms Ruane intends to shift £41 million from the building budget to pay instead for services and staffing.

Mr Wilson said: "This should end the concern across the school system - ensuring that both past and future savings will be honoured and will provide the certainty schools require."

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