SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan MLA has slammed a decision by the Department of Education to give school leaders a single day’s notice of their intention to end important education support programmes across Northern Ireland.
Principals were informed this morning that funding for the Healthy Happy Minds Pilot and the Engage programme would cease from tomorrow (31st March). Education Spokespeople have also been informed that School Holiday Food Grants will cease from tomorrow ahead of the Easter break.
Daniel McCrossan said:
“The decision to scrap these schemes is absolutely outrageous. To do so with a single day’s notice to principals, staff and the parents that rely on them is totally unforgivable.
“I understand the challenging financial position that the Department of Education is in but what about the financial situation facing thousands of families?
“Cutting holiday hunger payments right before the Easter break will be devastating for low income families across the North. Ending Healthy Happy Minds and the Engage programme will leave kids that need a bit more support in a terrible situation, not to mention the staff that rely on this funding.
“There are serious questions about the way the Department has approached this issue but the significant cuts to education budgets come from the British Government and local politicians have been paralysed by the political strategy adopted by the DUP.
“These are the real world consequences of a failing political system. We all have to resist this and we have to dedicate ourselves to building a better kind of society that allocates resources to our children to ensure they have the best possible start in life.”