Schools `dreading' multi-million pound budget cuts

Rosemary Barton

THREATENED cuts to budgets are creating a "sense of dread" in schools, it has been warned.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire this week indicated that a Stormont budget he would impose would cut 2.5 per cent from the education pot - a loss of around £50 million.

Ulster Unionist education spokeswoman Rosemary Barton said budget concerns were being felt by schools across the north.

"There is a real sense of fear setting in across many of our schools. I have spoken to several school principals since the Secretary of State's announcement in Parliament and there is a palpable sense of dread at what many see as further inevitable and unsustainable cuts.

"For many, more major in-year savings are simply unachievable. Perhaps if they were given more notice, or if they actually knew what the budget they were meant to be operating from this year is, they would be in a much stronger position."

SDLP education spokesman Colin McGrath said the cuts were a taste of the austerity to come if power-sharing failed.

Mr McGrath said that school budgets were already under enormous pressure - resulting in curriculum cuts and extra curricular restrictions.

"Our schools are suffering. Through no fault of their own, they have been placed in the middle of the political firing line and it is absolutely unacceptable," he said.

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