19 November 2018
East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons has said that the financial situation that schools in Northern Ireland are facing is yet another reason why the Assembly should meet and appoint Ministers immediately.
He said: “School principals have worked hard to keep their schools running but despite their best efforts almost half now find their budget in deficit. In my own constituency, I know that many principals have for years been extremely diligent in managing their budgets and keeping out of the red but for some this has become impossible. This situation is not tolerable and is no longer sustainable.
Whilst there is no easy fix to these issues, a lack of Assembly, Executive and Education Minister is compounding the problem. That is a disgrace. It should be a wake-up call to local parties to get back to Stormont. The DUP has been willing to get back into the Assembly and the Executive with no pre-conditions since the last election. Sadly, others are standing in the way.
The lack of an Executive in place prevents any serious consideration of changes to the budget to provide schools with additional support, but it also prevents any reform to the education system which could also help schools. In effect, the Department, the Education Authority and schools are trying to cope with this situation with their hands tied behind their back.
We have difficult issues to tackle and education is among the most pressing. The situation that schools find themselves in is not going to get better by itself. We need to start tackling the problem and those politicians who refuse to take their seats prolong the pain for schools and hurt the education of our children.”