'Too Much Spent On Small Schools' - Panel

A review into the funding of schools in Northern Ireland has found that too much is being spent on keeping smaller schools open, while disadvantaged pupils are being neglected.

Education Minister John O'Dowd has welcomed the review.

In June 2012 the Minister appointed leading educationalist Sir Robert Salisbury to head an independent review of the Common Funding Scheme, which governs the funding of schools.

The independent panel recommended a new funding policy, along with financial incentives to encourage smaller schools to merge.

It said a simpler funding formula was needed.

It also said the amount of money going to pupils from socially disadvantaged backgrounds needed to be increased.

Mr O’Dowd said: "Since my appointment as Education Minister I have moved to ensure as much money as possible is directed to schools. Given the budget settlement the Executive was presented with, it is more important than ever to ensure we derive maximum benefit from the resources at our disposal.

"That is why I asked Sir Robert Salisbury to lead a review into the operation of the Common Funding Formula. I was not satisfied that the current scheme adequately supported my key policy objectives, in particular raising standards and targeting social need.

"I welcome today’s publication of the review and would like to thank Sir Robert and his team for their hard work. I will wish to consider the findings of the report in detail over the coming weeks before making decisions on the way ahead."

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