Financial crisis in Education while government play truant – Brolly
Aontú Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson Gemma Brolly has responded to the publishing of the Independent Review of Education in the North by calling for the restoration of the Executive and a properly resourced education system
“I attended the launch of the Independent Review of Education today, presented by the panel, making 25 key recommendations for reform and future proofing the education sector. As the panel rightly highlighted however, their job is now complete. Three volumes, including findings and recommendations are now ready, the key factor is the implementations of such these recommendations. It is imperative they are progressed with an Executive in place and a proper funding strategy which will cover the current finding gap of almost £3,000,000,000. Spending overall in the North has been significantly lower than England, Scotland and Wales for over a decade now and whilst spending per pupil over the border is 20% higher than our baseline, it has highlighted the need for long-term investment in the sector as a whole.”
Welcome emphasis is placed with early years education (beginning at age two), early intervention. Recommendations also include reconfiguration of the network where primary school enrolment will remain the same, post primary will be increased to 600 and sixth form increased to 240 and ‘jointly managed community schools’ which raise questions.
We in Aontu, are also heartened by acknowledgement of the importance of schools with a genuinely welcoming and inclusive ethos as we know many of our schools are controlled, maintained and otherwise.
“During the question session, I did feel it was important to ascertain if planning to tackle lack of resources and services available for all our young people, inclusive of Irish Medium and and of newcomers, would be part of the recommendations, giving the example of dyslexia screeners.
This would in turn have huge benefits in early years education and early intervention. a unified approach for accessing services – for example where children in one locality are deemed requiring a SEN state I also enquired if the recommendations would involve a unified approach in accessing services, where regardless of school locality, criteria to access services would be equal across the North.
I very much look forward to reading the report in its entirety, however the relief that such urgent issues in education are being addressed remains severely stunted by a ‘truant’ government. It is time to either accept responsibility for the devastating impact pf existing and future failures of our education system or take our young peoples futures in heart and hand and get back to work.”