School principals across the borough say they are at breaking point as class sizes continue to increase in line with projected budget cuts.
Justin McNulty MLA has said that many local principals, in both the primary and secondary sector are at breaking point and some are even contemplating leaving the profession.
Mr McNulty was speaking after meeting a number of principals recently.
“We are all aware of the announcement by James Brokenshire that he is to cut 2.5% from school budgets here and principals are telling me this will have a catastrophic impact on schools locally.,” said Mr McNulty.
“This is just the latest in a long line of cuts from successive Education Ministers at Stormont over the last ten years.
“I met with twenty different principals this week, from every part of the constituency and the message is clear from each and every one of them – they can’t take any more!
“They are pleading for leadership from Stormont and all they get is stonewalled, followed by announcements of even more cuts. Children will suffer as class sizes will be larger, essential resources are not being provided, and services for the disabled and disadvantaged are being slashed.
“The real impact of these cuts will not be truly known for a decade to come. The future of children is being forfeited”
He added: “I was very impressed with the commitment of our principals and teachers, with many principals saying they cannot ask their staff to give any more. I met with new principals and some very experienced principals as well. They are all dedicated and determined people who are passionate about giving their pupils the best education possible.
“However, some of them were almost in tears as they described the duress they were experiencing with the constant cuts to their budgets and lack of support. It has gotten so bad that they are actively considering leaving the profession!’
“Every school in the north is being impacted in one way or another. I don’t believe parents and communities out there actually realise the real state of our education system. We are told we have a world class education system and this may be the case.
“However, as all of the principals stated, in order to sustain the high standards in education, investment is needed, not cuts.
“We need to see a fundamental rethink in the way we view and administer education. These cuts are the just the latest in a long line of cuts and cost pressures for schools. Just six weeks are left of this academic year and principals don’t know their budget they will have available for next year. Worse again, seven months into this financial year and they still have no budget. Schools and their principals are at breaking point.”