The Association of School and College Leaders has written to all Northern Ireland’s main political party leaders reminding them of the “bleak financial situation” in schools in Northern Ireland, and as the talks at Stormont resume with a view to re-establishing the Executive
The letter from ASCL Northern Ireland regional officer Robert Wilson urges them to take action quickly to restore the Assembly in order that political decisions might be taken to address the crisis.
It reads: “I write on behalf of our 200 members to all Northern Ireland political party leaders as you prepare to enter further talks in relation to the restoration of the Stormont government, urging you to explore every avenue open to you to ensure that a devolved administration is quickly restored. Urgent political decisions are needed to address many issues in Northern Ireland, not least those in education”.
It continued: “For the sake of our young people, who only get one chance, and for the mental and physical wellbeing of our members, who are drained, having continued to work hard in very challenging circumstances to keep our education system afloat, I highlight once again the need for you as politicians to address the financial priorities within our education system, including releasing the funds to break the industrial action deadlock and adequately resourcing the delegated schools’ budget.”
The letter concludes by saying that ASCL is keen to engage further with local parties to discuss how the budget crisis in schools can be addressed.
It also highlights the fact that Sara Long, the chief executive of the Education Authority, wrote last week to all school principals in Northern Ireland acknowledging “your growing frustration with the lack of adequate funding to enable you to fully deliver high-quality learning experiences for all children and young people.”
Her letter continued: “We realise that for some schools, there is no more that can be done to affect further savings.”