Dr Graham Gault, director of school leaders' union NAHT(NI), said "the indicative financial allocations to schools announced today make harrowing reading for all of our school leaders. With a decade of decimated budgets for schools behind us and the prospect of a further shortfall of three quarters of a billion pounds over the next three years, it is simply impossible for many of our schools to maintain basic services for our children without already enormous deficits spiralling further out of control.
"A factor that will deepen the financial crisis dramatically is that covid-related costs, including for substitute teachers, will no longer be covered by additional funding streams, and schools will be expected to cover such costs out of their delegated budgets. This is a huge expense and will plunge some of our schools into an unprecedented level of crisis.
"This is extremely serious. Everyone must now realise that there is a very real likelihood that provision for children will be heavily impacted, perhaps to the extent that some classes will not be able to be maintained, because schools will simply be unable to afford to pay for additional staff to cover absence.
"Hundreds of millions of pounds have been taken away from our schools with absolutely no corresponding reduction in services. How can we possibly expect to take so much resource away from our frontline services and expect everything to continue as normal? Everyone must now understand that this can no longer be sustained.
"As political candidates set out their political aspirations over the next few weeks, I implore everyone to ask the following question repeatedly: Exactly how will you ensure that funding is fully restored directly to our schools immediately? Do not accept any failure to answer this question."
First published 29 March 2022