Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland political turmoil: Industrial action not behind school's early closure, says union

Education cuts

A teaching union leader has described as "ludicrous" the claim that a Belfast school is being forced to close early once a week because of industrial action by teaching staff.

In a letter to parents, Breda Academy's headmaster said it will be closing at 1pm from December 6.

Principal Matthew Munro blamed "the ongoing budgetary pressures and associated action short of strike action that constrain all Northern Ireland schools to a greater or lesser degree".

But in a statement issued yesterday, Mark Langhammer, director of the National Education Union (NEU), said that "linking the half-day closure of the school on Wednesdays to union industrial action is ludicrous".

Mr Langhammer added: "The NEU is taking industrial action at Breda and elsewhere, sparked by the minister of education's decision to award 0% to teachers in October 2016.

"If Breda Academy has insufficient funding to run for five full days a week, that's because its funding is insufficient.

"There is no industrial action that NEU are taking at this school, or others, that would generate one extra penny if action ceased tomorrow."

It's expected that other schools will follow Breda Academy's lead in the New Year.

NAS/UWT union leader Justin McCamphill said he was aware of other schools looking at "shortening the timetable".

Belfast Telegraph

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