Union To Ballot School Principals For Strike Action

A union representing school principals in Northern Ireland is set to ballot members on strike action.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) represents school leaders, including principals and vice-principals, in around two thirds of the 1,150 local schools.

The decision follows the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee's review of education funding, published on 22 July.

Following an event hosted by NAHT (NI) entitled 'Education in Crisis' at Stormont in February, which was attended by MLAs representing each of the main parties, all were in agreement that the situation had reached breaking point due to the lack of funding for provisions and staff.

The ballot will take place in September following years of effort by the union to secure an assessment of school budgets.
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Geri Cameron, NAHT (NI) President, said: "Schools in Northern Ireland have suffered the worst real-time cuts of all Department-funded education services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. At the same time, school leader members of NAHT have been subjected to significant increases in workload and pressure including the action short of a strike implemented by teachers' Unions in 2011.

"As a result, members of NAHT(NI) have been attempting to navigate cuts in funding to school budgets, industrial action by colleagues and the consequences of a defunct Assembly, with no pay increase, no support and in an unreasonable environment which is damaging to their well-being. And of course, ultimately it is the children and young people in our care who lose out the most because of this.

"This assessment of school funding in Northern Ireland has been well known for many years but nothing has improved. Over 90 per cent of NAHT(NI) members voted in favour of industrial action in an indicative ballot survey in January 2019, citing workload and well-being as significant to the dispute. This is closely linked to inadequate funding for SEND provision, staffing and delegated budgets."


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