Alliance Equality Spokeperson Eileen Bell has demanded that her calls made in the Assembly to ring-fence spending on special needs education are more relevant now than ever before.
Speaking in the context of cutbacks to funding debated by Education Boards across Northern Ireland, the North Down Assembly Member stated: “We have to be clear that the budget for education is being cut back, partly due to past overspends. We have to take responsibility to ensure that such cutbacks do not affect the teacher or the pupil in the classroom.
“Specifically, I would repeat the Alliance Party’s demand that spending on special needs education be ring-fenced. As it becomes more and more apparent how little provision there is in Northern Ireland compared to elsewhere for many special-needs children, not least in the mental health field, it is essential we put down a marker to protect this funding.
“If money is to be saved, it must be saved by reallocation from dilapidated buildings and by saving on unnecessary bureaucracy. But the most vulnerable must not suffer.”