Trade Union Officials from NIPSA, UNISON, GMB and UNITE met with EA Senior Management on 5 December to receive a briefing on the budget position for the current financial year.
Education Authority management confirmed that their projected overspend had reduced from £290m to £100m and had been advised that no further money would be available to address the funding gap of £100m. The Department of Education has instructed EA management to deliver proposals to make savings of £100m during the remaining three months of the current financial year.
Kieran Ellison, Regional Officer, Unite the Union stated:
“Northern Ireland has gone from second behind Scotland to the lowest spending per pupil in the UK over the last decade in education. It is truly unconscionable that the Conservatives wish to pay for the Truss/ Kwarteng £30bn economic joyride by cutting the money for our future generation’s education. Unite stand robustly against the ideology of cuts and austerity”.
Alan Law, Assistant Secretary – NIPSA commented:
“Tory politics is alive and well. A decision has been imposed on the Department of Education by the NI Secretary of State, balance your books on the backs of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society. It is incomprehensible that savings of this nature can be achieved in three months without inflicting serious harm to the delivery of education.”
Supporting this challenge UNISON’s Head of Bargaining and Representation Northern Ireland Anne Speed added:
“Education is a devolved matter and the voters of Northern Ireland and the politicians they elect own the mandate to set Education policy for our children. The resources to deliver a holistic education must be protected. We will neither accept or relinquish the provision of all of the services directly delivered by our education sector members.”
Jim Donley, Regional Official GMB added:
“Disgraceful actions by people who have no mandate from the NI electorate, it’s time for more funding not less, our children deserve an education system that is properly funded to ensure every pupil achieves their full potential”.