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School leaders gather to debate issues of funding, pay, workload and special education in Northern Ireland

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School leaders from Northern Ireland are travelling to Liverpool today (Saturday 5 May) to attend the Annual Conference of school leaders’ union NAHT. There they will debate the education issues of the moment, and will vote to pass motions on school funding, teachers’ pay and workload, and special education in Northern Ireland.

Helena Macormac, Policy Director of NAHT Northern Ireland, said:

“Schools in Northern Ireland are seeing chronic underfunding from the government. School budgets are at breaking point. Not only is this impacting the quality of education schools are able to deliver to children, it is making school leaders’ jobs intolerable.

“Today, school leaders from Northern Ireland will vote to address the causes of the chronic underfunding of our schools and the resultant stress on school leaders, and to insist that a value-for-money evaluation, including a full financial disclosure, should be carried out on the support agencies for schools in Northern Ireland.

“School leaders feel badly served by the agencies that administer at least 40% of the education budget in Northern Ireland. Tax payers’ money should be used to directly benefit our children in the place they are being educated.

“Conference will further call on the employers of teachers in Northern Ireland to settle the ongoing pay dispute and the associated seven years of industrial action effectively so that all teachers and school leaders are recognised for the challenging role they play and are rewarded adequately. The workload of school leaders must also be addressed with effective support from the employers providing adequate administrative and management staff.

“Workload continues to be a major issue across the education sector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The DfE, EA and Welsh government must address the issue of workload for school leaders as a matter of urgency to ensure that teacher workload can be reduced and recruitment and retention is improved.

“Delegates will also vote to call on the Department of Education to implement the findings of the Northern Ireland audit report on special educational needs, particularly addressing the inefficient and expensive bureaucratic processes of the Children and Young People’s Services.

“Special school leaders in Northern Ireland must be given control over adequate resources and treated with respect as dedicated professionals.”

First published 05 May 2018