Belfast Telegraph

Headteacher hits out at Northern Ireland's 'failing politicians' after being forced to cut class time over budget cuts

Larne Grammar School is reducing class time due to budget cuts. (PA)
Larne Grammar School is reducing class time due to budget cuts. (PA)
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

A headteacher has hit out at Northern Ireland's 'failing politicians' after being forced to cut class times for pupils because of budget cuts.

Larne Grammar School has written to parents informing them that class time will be cut because of a reduction in funding.

The school has said the school day will be ten minutes shorter.

The school is also cutting teaching staff by a further 1.4 full-time equivalent and that it will be unable to replace the vice-principal who is retiring at the end of the academic year.

Principal Jonathan Wylie, in a statement released to the Belfast Telegraph, said that since 2012, schools' budgets have declined by around 10% in real terms.

He said that schools have been attempting to manage the cuts, while maintaining the quality of education provision for pupils, resulting in schools being forced to reduce staffing levels.

"Many of these cuts have been absorbed by schools and school staff with the result that they have not been noticed by parents and the wider community," the Mr Wylie said.

"This, however, is no longer sustainable and Boards of Governors across Northern Ireland are being faced with unpalatable choices and are being forced to make some very difficult decisions.

"School leaders are angry and frustrated that they are being placed in this position due to the failure of politicians and, through them, the Department of Education to ensure appropriate levels of funding for schools in Northern Ireland."

Mr Wylie said that the Board of Governors of Larne Grammar School, having considered a range of options in attempt to minimise the impact on pupils and the wider school community, has taken the decision to reduce class time by two minutes per period from September 2019.

Mr Wylie added: "The Governors and staff of the school remain steadfast in their commitment and determination to ensure that the pupils of Larne Grammar School receive the best possible educational experience, and have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, in spite of the many external pressures to which schools are being subjected."

The Department of Education has been approached for comment.

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