‘Schools are at breaking point’

Colum Eastwood.
Colum Eastwood.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said that as the political impasse enters the 18 month mark, it is “disgraceful that local schools across the North are at breaking point”.

Mr. Eastwood was speaking after meeting a delegation of primary school principals, alongside party colleague Mark H. Durkan MLA earlier this week.

The MLA for Foyle said: “Today’s meeting with local primary school principals in my own constituency of Foyle offered a stark reminder of just how unsustainable our political situation has become.

“It is a sorry state of affairs when teachers are having to cut back on classroom assistant hours, school buildings are in a state of serious disrepair and extracurricular activities are cut back to the bare minimum.

“We urgently need a functioning Executive in place, an Education Minister to deliver on outcomes, and a budget set to ensure these outcomes can be delivered.”

People Before Profit spokesperson Shaun Harkin, who also met with a network of Primary School Principals in Derry this week, said: “Per pupil funding has been slashed year on year. As a consequence, the Principals made it clear schools are on their knees.

“Years of relentless cuts mean teachers and assistants are being laid-off, Special Education Needs can’t be met, schools can’t be painted or basic maintenance carried out, and, class sizes are increasing. As a result, children’s education is being sacrificed.

“Education is a Civil Right. We need a new Civil Rights movement involving parents, students, educators and school staff to fight for permanent core funding that gives every child the education they deserve,” he added.