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Education Minister announces 2010-11 budgets


Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has today announced budget allocations for education services for 2010-11.

The Minister confirmed that current funding for education was up by 1.9% to just over £1.9billion but said that it had been a difficult budget involving difficult decisions.

The Minister said: “We face a challenging year for education. While there is an overall increase of 1.9% on the education budget and I have been able to provide more money directly to schools, there are also areas where I have not had that option.

“The overall budget agreed by the Executive requires substantial savings of £74million on my original plans for this year. This is on top of £13million savings previously withdrawn in anticipation of ESA. In determining allocation for 2010-11, I have focused on equality, reducing bureaucracy and ensuring as much funding as possible for the classroom.

“Throughout, my priority has been to protect frontline services. When faced with the alternatives of cutting teachers or youth workers and cutting back office functions, there is only one sensible choice.

“I am pleased to announce that I have increased the budgets which go directly to schools by 1.9%, protecting core front-line educational services in the classroom."

This represents a modest increase from last year, but that must be considered in the context of the need for all departments to deliver substantial savings compared to previously planned budgets. In the case of education, these reductions were £51.7million in current expenditure and £22million in capital.

The Minister said that she remained committed to increasing the relative levels of funding for primary schools. The Minister said: "I have made clear my commitment to ensuring additional funding for primary schools and I am able to announce that the budget provides for an additional £90 per primary pupil which represents a 3.1% increase in funding per primary school pupil compared to last year."

The Minister indicated that resources for Education and Library Boards will be down on last year. She said: “I will look to the Boards to ensure as far as possible that these reductions do not impact on core services for children and youth.”

Streamlining Education Administration

The Minister said: “To protect school budgets we need to reduce bureaucracy in administration. The changes required to reduce red tape, raise educational standards and improve services are long overdue and we can no longer wait until the new Education and Skills Authority (ESA) is up and running.

“Establishment of the ESA remains an objective of the Executive and I am working to deliver that objective. I welcome that the budget agreed by the Executive includes £6.4million of the additional £8million I need to help deliver the ESA.

“In the meantime, the Convergence Process I have set in hand must begin to deliver the savings which had previously been taken out of the education budgets, some £13million this year. In order to protect front-line services now and in the future, it is essential that bureaucracy is radically streamlined. The case for ESA is clear and irrefutable."

Resources have also been made available for the introduction of the Holding Body for controlled schools and new sectoral support bodies which will be required once the Education and Skills Authority is up and running.



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