THE President of Northern Ireland’s biggest teaching union has welcomed the chance for pupils to have their say on funding.
Stephen McCord from Cookstown, was speaking in the wake of Education Minister John O’Dowd’s call for students to voice their aspirations on how schools should be funded in future.
“We believe this shows how seriously the Minister is taking this issue – and deservedly so as it is one which has exercised the educational sector for many years,” said Mr McCord, head of science at Glastry College, Newtownards.
He said children in Northern Ireland schools must be educated in a system which can keep pace with the best in the world if the economy is to have any chance of recovery.
“To do that we must ensure our children have access to the best possible teaching and resources available and for that reason the Minister must look carefully at how schools are funded.
“This is the perfect opportunity to look at the disparity between funding for primary and secondary school pupils if Minister O’Dowd is serious about taking a realistic, long-term approach to economic recovery,” he said.
Mr McCord also said primary schools then need to be funded on a par with their secondary counterparts to ensure children get the best possible start in this increasingly competitive economic climate.
“We must not see resources go to primary schools at the expense of secondary schools – rather, primary school funding must be brought up to the level of secondary counterparts. Under the present system an 11-year-old child is ‘worth’ less than a 12-year-old in funding terms. There is just no justification for the differential that exists at present.
“Primary schools need to be treated exactly the same as their secondary counterparts,” he added.