Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has reiterated his party’s call for a Bengoa-style root and branch review of the education system after a senior civil servant said it was under “considerable strain”.
Department of Education Permanent Secretary Derek Baker was speaking after the Departmental accounts for 2017-18 were published. The Education Authority overspent its budget by around £19 million, which he said was in the face of increasing pressures.
Mr Lyttle said the Bengoa Report, a Government-appointed panel led by international expert Professor Rafael Bengoa which made over a dozen recommendations on how to make our health service fit for the 21st Century, could provide the basis for a similar comprehensive review of the education system.
“Alliance has been inundated with messages from parents, teachers and principals, all concerned about the growing pressures being put on our children’s education by increasing financial strain, excessive class sizes, poor buildings and inadequate special educational needs assistance among other issues.
“There have been numerous independent reports and recommendations into the education system here but they have not been adequately implemented. It is now clear we need a comprehensive review of these recommendations and implementation of reform if we are to arrest the ongoing impact of this financial crisis on our schools.
“This impacts everyone in our society and due to the lack of an Executive to put a strategic plan in place, it is only likely to get worse. We need to deliver the reform necessary to ensure our education system becomes structured and resourced enough to allow all our schools to deliver high quality education for all children across Northern Ireland.”