Major cash boost for [some] education

There was some additional funding for Northern Ireland announced via yesterday’s budget, some £26million, but the Secretary of State steered it carefully away [invested it on our behalf – Ed] into his previously announced 2-year Children and Young People’s Fund – making it now a £87million fund, with an additional £14.6million available to community and voluntary groups. Just as well there’s no pressure on other education services then.. I mean it’s not as if two Education and Library Boards are refusing to implement cuts in their budgets of £6.6million and £4.3million. Those cuts are in response to repeated over-spends in previous years, but it’s difficult to see the logic in pressing ahead with cuts while diverting more cash into a one-off untested scheme. Update Despite the earlier report, still online, The South Eastern Education and Library Board has agreed to a budget including £4.3million in cuts – “The vote was split between councillors – who voted to reject the budget – and non-elected representatives”

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  • Fipp

    It’s not an untested scheme – The £14.6 million is for projects that have been running for a couple of years and have a proven track record.

    Unfortunately the projects in question were orginally told no more funding would be available so many are in the process of winding down or have already closed and laid off staff. Obviously this will limit the impact that the money will have – or even how much of it can be spent. Well done NIO!

  • Pete Baker

    Fipp

    Granted the £14.6million is for existing projects, which as you say, has its own problems… that just leaves the other £87million..

  • IJP

    I’m not sure I agree, Pete, although I’m open to persuasion.

    The Boards have overspent in the past. So it appears to me that that is a tested scheme – and the test has failed!

    I’d prefer the money go straight to the schools. Even something as comparatively straightforward as electricity rises mean that schools are struggling to do the basics such as heating within budget (which doesn’t take account of such hikes) – with pressures to cut back on staff as a result.

    I’m fed up with ‘Boards’ pulling off consistent overspends with no apparent outcome. I want to see teachers maintained and paid a fair salary, quality classroom assistants, and money spent directly on pupils and the resources they need.