Schools’ funding changes “won’t mean robbing Peter to pay Paul”

Sinn Fein Councillor Bridget Meehan.
Sinn Fein Councillor Bridget Meehan.

A Waterside based councillor has said that no schools in the city will lose out as a result of changes in the way funding is organised.

Sinn Féin Councillor Bridget Meehan welcomed the announcement by Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, that nursery and primary schools across the Waterside and rural areas will receive nearly £200,000 of additional funding in their budgets due to the funding changes.

However she was quick to point out that the changes wouldn’t mean a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Speaking to the Derry Journal, Colr. Meehan said: “The changes to school budgets have been brought about because Minister O’Dowd is targeting more funding at those children in greatest need. Research shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t do as well in school as those from more affluent backgrounds. A child from a lower income household has only half the chance of a child from a higher income household of leaving school with the necessary level of qualifications. This inequality is a result of wider societal structures that are beyond the control of children or their families. Sinn Féin believes we can only begin to address this inequality and improve outcomes for all children by targeting those children in greatest need and raising their attainment levels.”

She added: “With the school budget changes, Sinn Féin is ensuring that a real difference will be made to thousands of children who need our help, while at the same time ensuring that no other school loses out.”