Teachers’ jobs are on line if cuts go ahead

Jo-Anne Dobson. INLM4710-882con
Jo-Anne Dobson. INLM4710-882con

A leading educationalist in the Portadown area has warned that teachers’ jobs here will be on the line if drastic cuts to the education budget are implemented.

The source said that there would be no escape for schools here if the cuts go-ahead.

In addition to job cuts, there is a likelihood that class sizes will have to be increased.

The Department of Education has to make nearly £200m of savings which could result in up to 2,000 teacher redundancies across Northern Ireland.

The matter was debated at the Northern Ireland Assembly on Tuesday.

Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson warned of the dire consequences of cutting the budget in such a drastic fashion.

She said, “These proposals have caused anger and disbelief across the teaching profession because ultimately they will mean mass redundancies, larger class numbers, less special needs provision and sadly a poorer quality environment for education.

“They would impact across all schools and I and my colleagues in the Ulster Unionist Party have been in contact with many concerned teachers and principals on this issue.

“The Minister needs to recognise that the suggestion that these cuts to teaching staff are to be implemented on 1 April, which is three months before the academic year ends, is absolutely absurd.”

The department published its draft budget for 2015/16 in November and indicated “there will be implications for jobs”.

Mrs Dobson added, “Schools would find it all but impossible to meet the entitlement framework expectations and class sizes of 30 and 35 plus would become the norm.”