Education leaders discuss major challenges facing the Education sector
27 October 2023
Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education (DE), Dr Mark Browne and Chair of the Board of the Education Authority (EA), Barry Mulholland met yesterday to discuss current pressures on the education sector.
Speaking afterwards, Dr Browne said:
“I remain extremely conscious of the significant challenges facing the education system in terms of the current financial situation, ongoing industrial action, inadequate school estate funding and rising numbers of pupils with Special Educational Needs.
“With a funding gap in the region of £300m in 2023-24, and despite taking some very difficult decisions, it will not be possible to live within our existing budget. It will also once again be impossible to offer pay awards to our hard working staff as, within the current budget, it is simply unaffordable. This is not an acceptable position. Our teachers and staff deserve to be paid at a fair level for the outstanding job they do in very difficult circumstances.
“I remain very concerned that the quality of education and outcomes for children and young people will continue to suffer without additional significant investment in education services and transformation, along with a sustainable funding model for the long term.”
Addressing ongoing pressures on the Education Authority’s budget, Mr Mulholland said:
“There has been a chronic under funding in education over the last ten years and we remain very concerned about the impact the unprecedented financial pressures are having on our schools, staff and ultimately our children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable.
“It is essential that as a society we value and invest in the education of our children and young people and in future generations to come.
“We would therefore echo the Permanent’s Secretary’s support for fair pay for all teaching and non teaching staff and would strongly repeat our call for sustained investment and continued transformation of services.”