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Mayor praises positive steps being taken to address education cuts

21 February 2019

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle recently facilitated a meeting with the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education Derek Baker to relate the concerns of principals and parents on the exceptional financial pressures being placed on schools across the Council area.

The Mayor described the meeting as beneficial and worthwhile, and praised the work of the local Derry~Londonderry Primary Principal’s group on the proactive work they have been doing to address the concerns of parents in highlighting this important issue.

He said: “I was very pleased to facilitate a number of meetings on this important issue over the past number of weeks. I was particularly pleased to facilitate a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Derek Baker, at the Guildhall recently that was attended by a number of local primary school principals. It was really useful in allowing us to speak directly to him about our concerns and also put forward a range of possible solutions to the challenging financial climate experienced by all schools in the city and district. The meeting was very positive and Mr Baker took on board our comments and agreed to respond to the suggestions put forward by the Principals,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Derry Londonderry Primary Principal’s Group said that a number of actions have been taken by the group since the release of the joint letter to the Department following the cuts announcement last year.

“These include the establishment of an online petition that has generated a response of approximately 6000 signatures that have been forwarded to Karen Bradley MP, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In addition to having a series of meetings with various political representatives, the principals have met with representatives of the NI Public Affairs Committee to provide information on the current education funding crisis within Northern Ireland, and Karen Mullan MLA, education spokesperson for Sinn Fein, has organised a further meeting with Mr Baker that the principals hope to avail of so they can discuss his response to our initial proposals.”

The spokesperson added that the principal’s group intend to reconvene a meeting in early March to agree planned actions moving forward.

Concluding the spokesperson for the Principal’s Group said; “Heartfelt thanks to all parents for their ongoing support and commitment on this important matter and also to our political representatives for their assistance since the issuing of the initial letter.”