Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

School boards need to look at spending

I am responding to your article 'Catastrophic cuts for Northern Ireland schools' (January 28).

Perhaps the education boards could look again at the huge amount of money they spend providing a door-to-door taxi service for hundreds of youngsters who do not want to go to school.

Boards might also wish to reappraise their policies concerning pupil compensation claims.

Many claims are very suspect, eg pupils successfully claiming for injury sustained climbing trees that were in an out-of-bounds area of the school grounds. Or a pupil successfully claiming when they slip running in a school corridor.

This was when it had been clearly stated by staff that running was never permissible and when the pupil had no lasting injury.

These examples describe real cases.

On each occasion, the education board concerned adopted a 'roll over and die' policy and settled out of court.

Education boards' lethargy as regards claims has given rise to some parents and pupils regarding them as 'money-trees'.

Then we have the vast amount of education money spent on duplication of resources solely to protect a special mystical Catholic school 'ethos'.

Unlike anywhere else in the UK, the Department of Education here willingly funds two parallel education systems that practically separate our children at birth.

Great for promoting tolerance and mutual understanding - not.

Is it the state's role, especially in our present deep economic woes, to support this educational apartheid?

Many commentators would argue that, quite apart from the money wasted on this dual approach, the tribal ignorance it generated was one of the main contributory factors in exacerbating the Troubles of the last 50 years.

T J McCLEAN

Belfast

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