Belfast Telegraph

School budget cuts will hit standards of teaching in Northern Ireland, warns principal

By Rebecca Black

The head of one of the top performing non-selective schools has said she is very concerned about the impact of budget cuts.

Roisin McKenna, the principal at St Colm's High School in Draperstown, Co Londonderry, said all of her staff work beyond their job description, but warned that the lack of funding in education makes it difficult to maintain high quality teaching.

Yesterday it emerged that schools across Northern Ireland have been told they will have no extra money to cope with growing pressures and should not assume any more will come later in the year.

The stark message was sent out to schools by the Department of Education following the 2018-19 budget announcement on March 8.

St Colm's was the top performing non-grammar school in this year's A-level league tables with 88% of the grades achieved last year at A*-C.

It finished in seventh place, among some of the most prestigious grammar schools in Northern Ireland.

Ms McKenna said the secret of its success is the support of a wide range of people including school governors, chaplain, staff, pupils and parents.

She keeps the school open every evening and on Saturday mornings to help pupils realise their dreams, but warned St Colm's doesn't get enough funding.

"The current cuts in education continue to make this increasingly difficult. In the past number of years the shortfall in funding means we are significantly under-resourced," she said.

"The current lack of funding in education makes it very difficult to maintain high quality teaching and learning and drive forward new initiatives. I am very concerned about the impact this is going to have on staff and pupils' well-being."

Roisin McKenna
Roisin McKenna

Belfast Telegraph


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