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(UK) Belfast: Special ed funds to be cut after Easter; 'an absolute disgrace'

Apr 7, 2023, Belfast Live: Disabled children to lose out due to funding cuts, Co Derry special school principal warns https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/disabled-children-lose-out-due-26655427

Special school forced to tell some staff they won't be back after Easter

Children with disabilities and learning difficulties are going to lose out on therapies, programmes and extra help due to education budget cuts, a special school principal has warned.

The Department of Education announced on March 30 that two funding streams – Engage and Healthy Happy Minds – would be cut after March 31.

Caroline Clements, principal of Rossmar School in Limavady, Co Derry, said she has now been forced to inform some staff members they “won’t be back after Easter ” because there is no longer money available to pay them.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Ms Clements described the disparity in overall per-pupil funding between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as a “disgrace”.

The Controlled Schools Support Council, which oversees the work of most special schools, released figures last week that showed an "underinvestment" of £18,000 per pupil per year in Northern Ireland when compared with Scotland.

And last week, on March 30, the Department of Education wrote to school leaders to announce funding cuts….

Ms Clements said the loss of those two funding streams would have a direct impact on the pupils at her school - some of whom have multiple and profound disabilities and learning difficulties.

"On Thursday at 11.43 I received an email from the Department to say that the Engage funding was cut," she said. "When I got home that evening I discovered on the news that the Healthy Happy Minds funding was gone."

She continued: "The people that are being affected the most are the pupils. This isn’t funding that is just for special schools, it was for all schools….

"There are figures showing how much is spent in England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland is the worst. It is an absolute disgrace."…


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