Belfast Telegraph

1,400 teachers made redundant in Northern Ireland over past three years

By Leona O'Neill

More than 1,400 school staff have been made redundant in the last three years in schools across Northern Ireland.

Some 692 teachers and 738 support staff have gone since 2015.

A total of 164 teachers have been made redundant this year alone, according to figures from the Department of Education.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan, who obtained the statistics, said it revealed a "crisis in the education system".

In total, 1,430 staff have been made redundant since 2015.

Last year, 155 teachers were laid off, alongside 200 school support staff.

In 2016/17, 307 school support staff were cut along with 179 teachers and in 2015/16, 194 teachers were laid off as well as 214 support staff.

Mr McCrossan says that the cuts reflect the overall financial pressures faced within the department.

"These figures are extremely concerning and reflect the real crisis the education system has been in over recent years," he said. "We've had cutback after cutback on school budgets and this is tangibly reflected in these numbers.

"I have met with school principals, teaching and support staff over recent weeks who are concerned about cutbacks, their futures and the future of their schools. Principals have told me explicitly, unless something is done immediately, they have no option but to made staff redundant as they try to balance their books.

"Education here is in crisis and these figures underscore this. We cannot let education here die a death by a thousand cuts and the public, teachers, and staff deserve a lot better."

Londonderry's Lisneal College principal Michael Allen said the education system is "in crisis from top to bottom".

He said the political deadlock is adding to the problems, with big decisions not being made.

"The lack of Stormont definitely isn't helping," he added. "We don't have an Education Minister. Any concerns we have, who do we go to now? No one is prepared to make decisions. We do need a government. We need Stormont back in place, because we need leadership."

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: "School-based redundancies are on a voluntary basis, and funded by the Public Sector Transformation Fund as part of a range of measures to help schools manage their budgets.

"This funding was agreed by the Executive under the terms of the Stormont House Agreement in 2014. Therefore the absence of a minister has not impacted.

"The school building programme has continued in the absence of an Assembly."

Belfast Telegraph


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