School principals warning as 95% of primary schools face funding cuts

Adele Kerr, Principal of Enniskillen Integrated Primary

Adele Kerr, Principal of Enniskillen Integrated Primary

Principals of two primary schools this week told the Fermanagh Herald that they hoped that the Minister of Education, John O’Dowd, would take note of the responses to the consultation on the proposed new school budgets.  

The budgets, if implemented, would see 95% of primary schools in the county lose money.


Mr Winston Glass of Enniskillen Model, which is set to lose £18,000 under the new proposals, explained that the governors of the Model school hoped “that the current consultation process will serve to highlight the vital importance of finding a fair and unbiased way of identifying real educational need; and one that is committed to putting all children first; as opposed to putting only some children first”.

The new budgets have been calculated using Free School Meal (FSM) entitlement which is used as a tool to identify areas of social deprivation.

The Minister has strongly argued that the link between social deprivation and poor educational performance needs to be addressed with extra funding to the areas affected.

Mr Glass explained that the Govenors at Enniskillen Model “welcomed the opportunity to respond” to the proposals and acknowledged that a considerable amount of work had been done in order to get the proposals to this stage.’

Mr Glass however warned of the impact the proposed budgets may have right across the North;

“Given that some 81% of primary schools in Northern Ireland will be impacted upon financially by these proposals, as they currently stand, it is clear that all parts of the province will be badly affected. This school, along with many schools, large, small, controlled and maintained and so on, stand to lose out financially in the years ahead hence making it increasingly difficult to put all children first.”

Another primary principal, Ms Adele Kerr, of Enniskillen Integrated, echoed these thoughts explaining that if the proposals go through “It’ll make life difficult” and that  the move will “affect a lot of schools”.


“We obviously have been looking at our next three year school financial profile. Even though the new school meals would be on the rise, the level of pupil enrollment is increased – and our overall budget will be reduced if the new proposals go through,” Ms Kerr stated.

Although the principal believes that the Minister will take into consideration the views of those who have responded to the consultation;

“We’ve responded as a board of governors and as a school. And the have extended the consultation by a week. I do think that he is a minister that listens, and if the people respond then he will listen.”

 Only two local primary schools expected to see increase in budgets

…and most post-primary schools also to face cuts

A VAST reduction in school budgets is set to hit Fermanagh with up to 95% of schools within the county facing cutbacks under the proposed redistribution of funds by the Minister of Education, John O’Dowd.

Across the rest of the North, 38% of schools will see their budgets increased but in Fermanagh this figure is only 10%.

The proposed new budgets, which are currently under consultation, have been formulated using free school meal (FSE) entitlement as a means of assessing how the overall budget is to be distributed.

FSE is a tool used to identify areas of social deprivation that the Minister argues has a direct link to schools where students underachieve.

The figures have been calculated by using Department of Education information.

As across the rest of the North the primary school sector in Fermanagh fares much worse than the secondary school sector.

Of the over 40 primary schools in Fermanagh only two, Holy Trinity and Bunscoil Na Traonaigh in Lisnaskea, will see their budget increased.

Holy Trinity will see an increase of just over £3,500 which equates to less than 1% of its overall budget while Bunscoil Na Traonaigh will see a 4% increase in their budget which will mean an extra £6,428 in the coffers.

All the other schools in the primary sector face a reduction. Aghadrumsee primary school will see 4% of its budget wiped out if these proposals go through while Enniskillen Model could potentially lose over £18,000.

At secondary level, St Michael’s College, the Collegiate, St Comhghalls Lisnaskea and St Mary’s Brollagh will see an increase in their school budgets.

The other eight secondary schools will see their budgets reduced.

Mount Lourdes are set to lose £14,000 while Portora could lose £11,000.

The consultation period for the proposed budgets has been extended to 5pm this Friday, October 25.

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