News almost half of Northern Ireland's schools being in debt are proof of an urgent need for a Bengoa-style review of the entire education system, Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said.
Mr Lyttle was speaking after figures from the Education Authority showed 446 schools out of 1,000 analysed for the current academic year are projected to be in the red. Out of those 446, 352 have seen their deficits increase since 2017/18.
Alliance Education spokesperson Mr Lyttle said the Bengoa Report, a Government-appointed panel led by international expert Professor Rafael Bengoa which made over a dozen recommendations on how to make our health service fit for the 21st Century, could provide the basis for a similar review of the education system here.
"Alliance has been vocal for some time now for the need for a complete root and branch reform of the entire education system. We have been inundated with messages from parents, teachers and principals, all concerned about the growing pressures being put on our children's education by factors including increasing financial strain on schools.
"While we have had numerous reports and recommendations into the education system, they have not been adequately implemented. Such a review outlining the need for reform and subsequent implementation is needed urgently if we are to halt the financial crisis on our schools.
"This news impacts everyone in our society and due to the lack of an Executive to put a strategic plan in place, it is likely to get worse. We need to deliver the reform necessary to ensure our education system becomes structured and resourced enough to give all our young people the education they deserve."