170744 - Schools: Northern Ireland (Answered)

David Simpson
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what estimate he has made of the number of schools in Northern Ireland that are in a financial deficit.

Mr Shailesh Vara

On 8 March, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland set out a NI budget position for 2018-19 to give clarity and certainty on NI finances for the year ahead. It provides a secure basis for protecting and preserving public services including in education which has seen spending protected in real terms for the 2018/19 financial year.

Education is a devolved matter and while we have ensured that sufficient funding has been provided to maintain the overall schools budget at the same level as 2017-18, decisions on the allocation of that budget and the associated assessment of the financial position of individual schools are a matter for the Department of Education, and in the absence of the Executive, the Department’s Permanent Secretary.

The Secretary of State and I remain firmly of the belief that the right way forward for decision making in Northern Ireland on critical issues such as the funding of schools lies in stable, fully functioning and inclusive devolved government and working towards restoring devolved government remains our top priority.