Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 22:08 UK

After-schools clubs facing cuts

Maggie Taggart reports on the funding calls

Up to 500 schools in Northern Ireland are facing cuts in their breakfast and after-school clubs.

Funding for the Extended Schools Programme has been reduced from £10m to £6m.

The Ulster Unionist party's education spokesman, Basil McCrea, said the clubs provide a vital service

"It is more than just maths and English, it about giving children one on one attention in many areas," he said.

"It is about breakfast clubs, it is about after-schools work, so it really makes a huge difference in these areas.

"It is a huge tragedy that these are being taken away."

Primary schools

Meanwhile, hundreds of primary school principals have called on the Northern Ireland Executive to overrule the education minister on this year's budget.

The principals want a large increase immediately and have complained that secondary schools get much more per pupil than they do.

Harry Greer, head of Harmony Hill school, Lisburn, said Caitríona Ruane had not balanced funding as promised.

"This year, despite her promises, she has widened that gap," he said.

The Department of Education has pointed to an extra £20m for education this year, 60% of which went to primary schools.

However, the primary principals are calling on the executive to authorise an extra £800 every year for each pupil.




SEE ALSO
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21 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
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