‘Schools are being short-changed’

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Alliance councillor Alan Lawther has said he has grave concerns about the funding for Templepatrick Primary school going forward.

Cllr. Lawther said that the Education Minister has gone ahead with changes in the funding formula for schools despite the huge opposition from schools and educational professionals.

These changes mean that a large number of primary schools in the area will have less money to spend on staff and running the school.

“Templepatrick was one of the worst affected by these changes and the minister has imposed them with little notice,” Cllr. Lawther said.

He added: “The outcry from badly affected schools forced Minister O’Dowd to promise interim relief for them but by the calculations we have made in Templepatrick we have been very short changed.

“I am chair of the finance committee in the school and we work hard to keep close to budget, the sudden imposition of these plans blow apart our budgeting and the interim relief was meant to let us plan more carefully for the significant cuts.

“However the interim relief amounted to only £7,022 when by our calculations the cuts were taking around £25,000 from the school.”

Cllr. Lawther added: “We want the minister to keep his word and leave us unaffected for the interim year so that we can plan carefully for his cuts, but it would be better still if there were no cuts and the minister could reduce the huge overhead costs on our educational system and get more money directly to the classroom.

“Northern Ireland has one of the worst records at getting the education spend to the schools, far too much is kept by the department of education and boards.

“The new super board ESA has been around for years now without progressing to take over the work of the regional boards.”

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