Primary sector faces budget cuts – MLA

Fundamental changes to how individual annual school budgets are calculated will have a negative impact on most Carrick primary schools, it has been claimed.

The stark warning came from East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs after it was recently revealed to the Education Committee at Stormont that a large numbers of schools across the province would be receiving less money following a revision to the Common Funding Scheme.

The primary sector, Mr Beggs alleged, will be particularly hit, with only two – Sunnylands and Woodlawn – seeing an increase in funding.

Mr Beggs said: “Local schools definitely need to be aware of what the Department of Education is proposing. Following a raft of changes to how every schools annual budget is calculated, known as the Common Funding Formula, large numbers of local primaries and post primaries are going to be hit from next year onwards.

“I have had sight of the hypothetical reworked budget for 2013-2014 had it been based on the revised calculations and it is clear that had these cuts been brought in this year they would have had a devastating impact on local schools and parents.

“Using this year’s figures as a benchmark it is clear that when the changes are brought in from next April the cuts will be severe.”

Department figures, according to Mr Beggs, indicate Greenisland PS standing to lose almost £20,000 from its budget, Victoria PS around £16,00, Model PS almost £14,000 and Central PS nearly £13,000. Also facing reductions by over £10,000 are Eden PS and Whitehead PS. There would be a cut around £8,000 for Oakfield PS, £5,000 for Woodburn PS and £3,000 for St Nicholas’ PS with Silverstream PS reduced by £234. Boosted by the revised scheme would be Woodlawn PS by £27,000 and Sunnylands PS by £2,000. Figures were not provided by the department for Acorn Integrated Primary School.

Mr Beggs urged people to respond to the consultation, which runs until October 17.

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