“We need common sense and compassion in the midst of the ongoing crisis within Education.” - Gemma Brolly
Aontú education spokeswoman Gemma Brolly has criticised warnings given to teachers against striking by the Education Minister.
Speaking today, Gemma Brolly said "Just yesterday we had Education Minister, Mrs McIlveen warn teachers that if they participate in Industrial Action they may in breach of contract. Surely in a time when our system is on its’ knees, we should value the lifeline within it, its’ staff – teachers, classroom assistants, cooks and cleaners alike. Instead, we have one party, holding everyone hostage until they succeed in achieving their demands. Surely if anyone is in breach of contract, it is the politicians who made promises to families and now turn their back while those families suffer. Where is the breach of contract at government level?"
Brolly continued "The Education Authority Director, Mr Wade, has asked political parties to give the “required priority to the education budget.” Aontú have repeatedly demanded that the crumbling education system be prioritised. Mr Wade has confirmed last year that 478 schools in the North were “in the red” on 31st March 2021 and this will surely increase given current rising costs, with Mr Wade predicting a possible £40 million rise in school deficits."
"Approximately £450 million will be required for Special Educational Needs alone in 2022/23. We in Aontú have consistently highlighted the ridiculously long waiting times and numbers of young people awaiting assessment. Yet due to the fact we have no sitting assembly, the budget will be based on that of the previous year and not upon current needs and demands."
"This is a time for common sense, for compassion. Aontú urges the minister and her department to value the existing resources at the heart of the education, to engage and to work together with them, prioritising Education. Listen to the parents crying out for support for their children, listen to the education staff crying out to be simply respected and valued." Concluded Brolly