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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 06:44 GMT
Budget cuts 'hit teaching staff'
Young teachers are being forced to leave Northern Ireland
Shrinking education budgets in Northern Ireland could cost as many as 800 teaching jobs, a union has said.

According to the NASUWT, young teachers will be most at risk and many will be forced to leave the profession or move to jobs in other parts of the UK.

Last year, only 22% of newly qualified teachers managed to get full-time jobs, while 25% got temporary work.

Union official Seamus Searson said when schools are forced to make staff cuts, young teachers are the first to go.

"Young teachers will be the first identified in a redundancy situation," he said.

Seamus Searson
Seamus Searson said many young teachers cannot find work

"Last year only 22% got jobs and 25% got subbing work, that is not satisfactory for their induction and their training, so it's a great resource that's being lost to the service."

Mr Searson added that the majority of teaching graduates last year probably ended up going to England and Wales in search of work.

Michaela Bell, principal at Star of the Sea Primary School in north Belfast, said that although her budget had been increased from last year the rising cost of staff meant in real terms she was left with less money to spend.

The school's budget for the next financial year is up on the previous year to almost 796,000.

"However, with the increasing cost of staff, the school will have to find an extra 84,000 to maintain the same number of employees on the payroll.

"I was the last person that thought I would be in this position, two to three weeks ago I was sitting very happy thinking that I could maintain the staff that I have here next year," she said.

"It wasn't until I went to the board for help with a predicted budget that I realised that it wasn't going to be the case because staff costs have risen yet again this year and I'm not getting sufficient funds to cover that."

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