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School budget cuts will have 'frightening' effect

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A cut of £56 to the amount paid to primary and nursery schools for each pupil on the roll will lead to redundancies, a teaching union has warned. File image

A cut of £56 to the amount paid to primary and nursery schools for each pupil on the roll will lead to redundancies, a teaching union has warned. File image

A cut of £56 to the amount paid to primary and nursery schools for each pupil on the roll will lead to redundancies, a teaching union has warned. File image

A cut of £56 to the amount paid to primary and nursery schools for each pupil on the roll will lead to redundancies, a teaching union has warned.

School principals were told earlier this week that the amount it would receive for each pupil on the roll would be reduced.

The worst affected schools will be at primary and nursery level, although post-primary schools are also affected. Under the common funding formula, the amount awarded for each primary and nursery school pupil will fall from £2,061.21 to £2,004.71 per pupil - a cut of £56.50. The award for pupils at post-primary schools has been cut by around £15 per pupil.

NASUWT national official for Northern Ireland Justin McCamphill said the cuts will have a devastating ripple effect.

He said: "Cut after cut is being applied to education in Northern Ireland. This cut of £56 per pupil will make a huge difference to schools where principals are already struggling to keep within the budget they have. If they are pushed into a deficit situation, there is a strong possibility of redundancies of teaching and non-teaching staff, so the ripple effect of this is frightening. Unfortunately, this is one cut of many we are going to face over the coming year."

Reaction to the cuts prompted a finger-pointing exercise amongst some politicians.

UUP education spokeswoman Rosemary Barton described the cuts as "outrageous" and laid the blame for them at the door of Stormont.

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She said: "This is a direct result of the political stalemate at Stormont. We are halfway through the financial year and there is still no overall Northern Ireland budget in place causing piecemeal, short-term budgetary decisions being taken simply to balance the books. This is just the latest in a growing list of examples of why Northern Ireland needs accountable ministers in place so that decisions such as these are not made."

However, Sinn Fein's education spokeswoman, Karen Mullan, blamed the Conservatives and the DUP.

She said: "Schools are already coming under significant financial pressures as a direct result of Tory austerity cuts to the block grant. Since the Tories came into power, we have seen over a billion pounds cut from the North's block grant and local schools and local children are paying the price for this."

SDLP education spokesperson Colin McGrath said the blame game would not help the situation.

He said: "This is an issue which should not divide us and which should not be used as part of a political blame game. Principals, teachers, parents and pupils deserve better - we need to provide it quickly."


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