Belfast Telegraph

Funding crisis so bad Northern Ireland teachers 'bringing toilet roll to school'

Financial pressures facing Northern Ireland's schools are so great that teachers in Londonderry are bringing their own toilet roll to work, according to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood (S847/Getty Images)
Financial pressures facing Northern Ireland's schools are so great that teachers in Londonderry are bringing their own toilet roll to work, according to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood (S847/Getty Images)
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Financial pressures facing Northern Ireland's schools are so great that teachers in Londonderry are bringing their own toilet roll to work, according to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

The Westminster candidate for Foyle was responding to a letter from the Londonderry Primary Principals' Group, which has asked for the support of parents against "ongoing stringent financial policies".

The group also asks parents to question political parties on financial pressures affecting special needs education, plus essential maintenance and improvement works at schools.

Mr Eastwood said his party has been engaging with the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, David Sterling, to try and combat the issues facing schools.

He added: "[David Sterling] has made it clear that at least 10 major pieces of legislation and key policy decisions cannot be made without political leadership and an Education Minister.

"The impact of the political impasse on our public services is as clear as it is damning. It is about time parties stretched themselves to get back to work and tackle the crisis in our education system."

Mr Eastwood added that it was unacceptable that teachers "are bringing in toilet rolls and other basic resources" to work.

"The financial pressures faced by schools across the north has been well documented of late," he said.

"Teachers are having to get by on a shoestring budget and having to make drastic cuts to keep schools afloat - all to the detriment of the pupils.

"The Derry Primary Principals' group have fought hard to highlight the pressure that they are under, but they should not have too. They are crying out for leadership. As political leaders, we must respond urgently."

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