A senior Department of Education official is predicting at least 2,500 job losses in Northern Ireland schools over the next financial year because of savage budget cuts.
Giving evidence to the education committee at Stormont today Trevor Connolly described the position the department finds itself in as "extremely bleak and difficult".
Mr Connolly said 1,000 teaching jobs and 1,500 non-teaching jobs were at risk, adding that this figure could rise.
The DUP finance minister, Simon Hamilton, has told the Department of Education it has to make cuts of £198m to its budget.
The draft budget is out for public consultation until December 29.
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The Assembly will next debate the budget in January.