Belfast Telegraph

Budget plans for more than 600 Northern Ireland schools turned down

The annual budgets for more than 600 schools in Northern Ireland have been turned down.

The BBC reports the Education Authority has refused to approve the plans for 632 schools as they were unable to demonstrate they would stay within their allocated budgets for the current academic year.

Spending plans were approved for 239 schools.

The UUP's education spokesperson Rosemary Barton said: "I have been forwarded the emails that the Education Authority sent to several schools on Tuesday and to say there is a sense of anger and bewilderment from those principals would be an understatement.

"The problems in our local education system continue to grow by the day. Class sizes continue to swell, subjects are being cut, buildings are becoming increasingly run-down and shortfalls in school budgets now increase year-on-year.

"The frightening thing is that many of these schools have exhausted all reasonable cost reducing measures. Our local education system faces annual increases in pay costs of approximately £60m and this has largely been passed on to school budgets in the previous three financial years. The subsequent impact has been schools experiencing major deficits in their annual budgets."

Mrs Barton also questioned why money agreed as part of the agreement between the DUP and the Conservative Government as part of a confidence-and-supply agreement was yet to be released to Northern Ireland's health service.

Principals were required to submit three-year spending plans to cover the years from 2017 to 2020.

A spokesperson for the Education Authority said it would work with the schools to develop viable spending plans.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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