Principals demand `fair funding' for schools

At present, 41 per cent of the schools budget is centrally controlled

PRINCIPALS facing challenging budget cuts are to meet today to demand fair funding for schools.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) is holding its annual conference in Newcastle, Co Down.

The conference theme is Leading together: Leading the profession, and one of the key priorities to be discussed will be education funding.

Head teachers will argue that they must be empowered to deliver for pupils, including having the necessary resources to act.

At present, 41 per cent of the schools budget is centrally controlled, and NAHT has called for leaders to have greater autonomy to put resources where they are most needed.

Last week, NAHT's conference in Telford passed a motion calling for a "comprehensive, transparent and effective review of funding that fairly supports all pupils across Wales and Northern Ireland".

Today, delegates in Newcastle will debate what fair funding for the north's schools could look like.

NAHT Northern Ireland president Paul McClenaghan said there needed to be a review of education funding to ensure schools got the resources they needed.

"School leaders know their pupils the best, and yet in Northern Ireland a large share of the schools budget is centrally controlled," he said.

"This is bureaucratic, slow to adapt to the needs of children on the ground, and fails to make full use of the talents schools leaders in Northern Ireland have in delivering for children. Budgetary uncertainty and further cuts to funding make it vital that education is fully and fairly funded.

"We need to empower school leaders by delivering the bulk of the funding directly to them. If we truly want an education system that delivers high quality education for all pupils, we need sufficient, transparent and fair funding for all schools."

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