Former Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has said that the next Stormont Executive must continue to do everything in its power to protect Education budgets.
“The outgoing Executive had been largely successful in ring-fencing school budgets despite repeated attacks on the Block Grant. It has provided additional pre-school places, broadened criteria to ensure more pupils are entitled to free school meals and uniform grants, and:
* saved the Education Maintenance Allowance
* Invested £45 million in Irish medium education
* Invested £233 million in Integrated education
* Invested £1.2 billion in new school builds and upgrading facilities.
“It is vital that a similar unity of purpose characterises Programme for Government negotiations after the election.
“We pledge to ensure universities are funded to deliver the skill demanded by the economy.
“Sinn Féin has consistently made the case for increased funding for schools. Following next week’s Assembly Election it will be vital that all political parties put our pupils and schools first.
“If we are to continue to rebuild our economy and create unprecedented employment opportunities it is vital we do all in our power to protect the schools, colleges and universities that guide our young people through the important stages of life.”