The SDLP spokesperson for Children and Young People, South Down MLA Colin McGrath, has spoken up about his fears for the education service.
Mr McGrath said: “A warning from the Chief Executive of the Education Authority about a £350m funding gap proves what many have known for a long time… we are on the brink of a breakdown in our schools.
“For months, and years, now we have been warning that the budgetary crisis facing schools across Northern Ireland was not a blip or a passing issue. It is a systemic failure to provide schools with the resource they need to deliver the service we demand.
“Principals and teachers have had to do a lot more with a lot less over the last number of years. The strain that has placed on classrooms across the North is now becoming unbearable and it will result in poorer outcomes for children, predominantly those from poorer backgrounds.
“It’s widely acknowledged that we have an education system that serves some well but lets other down. The gulf in attainment will only grow wider if we don’t have a major rethink about how we resource education here.
“This situation is clearly being compounded by the paralysis of the political institutions. Decision need to be taken – either on further resource for schools or on a transformation plan for education.
“I can’t think of an issue more important that providing a good quality education or special educational support to our children.”
Mr McGrath said: “It’s time to resolve the issues preventing a focus on these critical issues. We need to get Stormont back up and running asap.”