Call For Entire Education System In NI To Be Reviewed

The Alliance Party and SDLP are calling for the entire education system in Northern Ireland to be reviewed after it was revealed that the Education Authority (EA) considered taking away all school crossing patrols.

Alliance spokesperson Chris Lyttle was speaking after the BBC unveiled a letter from the EA which stated it deliberated removing all lollipop men and women as part of a cost-cutting measure, as well as other "difficult choices" such as withdrawing uniform allowances and making compulsory redundancies in schools.

Mr Lyttle said: "Alliance has previously raised the need for a Bengoa-style review of our entire education system. We have had numerous reports and recommendations into it but they have not been adequately implemented. A comprehensive review and implementation of reform is needed urgently if we are to arrest the financial crisis on our schools.

"The fact the removal of crossing patrol guards was even contemplated shows how unsustainable the current situation is. Unless the Bengoa-style review takes place, there will unfortunately be more and more of these unacceptable proposals."

SDLP spokesperson Colin McGrath also urged the Department of Education to intervene with EA budgets.

He said: "The considerations by the Education Authority to potentially endanger children lives by removing lollipop patrols at schools is a stark indication of the financials pressures facing our education sector. 

"These cuts are simply unsustainable. There should be no price tag attached to children and young people’s education. It is now time for the department to intervene and ensure the Education Authority has the budget to survive and provide the basics needed.

 "It is imperative that a root and branch review take place of our education system too, in particular the level of investment put into our schools."


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