“Education Cuts Endangering the Lives of Children” - Brolly
Aontú representative for Bann DEA and Deputy Leader, Gemma Brolly, demands unity in the face of cuts that endanger the lives of our children.
“Just a few weeks ago we learned that all Educational Authority employees have been instructed to halt recruitment among various other cuts to they education system. Following this, all educational bodies came together to inform the Secretary of State that this “reduction in funding and ongoing under investment will negatively impact…every child...” A request has been made for an urgent meeting “involving everyone with a concern for the future of our children...”
Now this week, we learn that these cuts will put the safety of our children at risk, as replacement crossing patrol safety staff are some of the first to be targeted. Common sense would indicate that any school with a crossing patrol obviously requires this assistance to guarantee the safety of the children. Yet in recent years, we have witnessed a policy of not replacing crossing patrol staff and a refusal to reduce speed limits outside schools.
St Columba’s Primary School, Ballerin, were informed when the crossing patrol employee retired that he would not be replaced. This school is situated on a main road carrying the national speed limit. Parents walking their children to school have reported near misses with passing vans and lorries as they walk on the footpath. Left with no option, we requested a 20mph speed limit for the area outside the school, only to be informed that we did not qualify. In fact it would appear that neither St. Columba’s Ballerin, nor St. Columba’s Kilrea has qualified for these speed limits. When passing other schools with 20mph limits, some coupled with traffic calming measures or within 30mph zones, it is extremely difficult to comprehend why all schools and all children do not deserve the same level of safety and protection.
This meeting with the Secretary of State must take place as a matter of extreme urgency. The cuts demanded threaten the lives of all our children. Everyone and anyone concerned with the education, safety and the wellbeing of our children and young people must support and replicate the efforts of the educational bodies by coming together collaboratively to protect our young people from such madness.”