Education Authority going over budget more evidence of need for reform, says Lyttle

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said the Education Authority (EA) going almost £20 million over budget is more evidence the education system here needs root and branch reform.

Mr Lyttle was speaking as it was revealed by the Comptroller and Auditor General the EA finished the last financial year with a £19.1 million deficit, which would have been higher had additional funding not been allocated throughout the year.

In addition, the EA was not informed of its allocated budget by the Department of Education and the Department for the Economy until six working days before the start of the financial year, as well as not agreeing how the budget would be spent until August 2016, five months after the commencement of the year.

“This report by the Comptroller and Auditor General has confirmed Alliance’s previous call for the need for a root and branch review of the entire education system here,” said Mr Lyttle.

“The EA has suffered the consequences of late decision-making regarding its budget, meaning the organisation was unable to balance things financially and making clear how much money is there for schools, further pointing to the unsustainability of the current approach to the system.

“The report says there are systematic matters in the education system which need to be addressed. The problem is despite numerous independent reports and recommendations into our education system over the past number of years, they have not been adequately implemented. We need a comprehensive review of these recommendations and implementation of reform if we are to arrest the ongoing impact of this funding crisis on our schools.”

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