SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan has warned of a deepening crisis for schools in the North as the cost of living emergency worsens.
The Education Authority has advised some schools to anticipate a three-fold increase in heating costs, while even basic provisions like photocopy paper cost has risen in one school from £359 last year to £900 this year.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said:
“This is not a crisis waiting to happen, it is already unfolding before our eyes. It is clear that schools cannot pay the bills that are now coming their way. Our education system is already under huge pressures and existing budgets just won’t stretch.
“Given the announcement that schools in England, Scotland and Wales are getting funding to deal with heating costs, it is essential that we see both the Education Minister and Finance Minister act quickly and instruct their departments to work together to announce these additional resources for our schools to deal with these unavoidable extra education costs. Doing nothing and blaming others cannot be an option when our schools need politicians to step up and secure support.
“We also need to see the Education Authority publish a plan for how it intends to support schools through this cost of living crisis. This is a matter of the utmost importance and cannot be treated with the same approach that caused so many difficulties for schools, pupils and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.”