02 Oct 2022

People Before Profit: We need to fight harder to defend our schools

Shaun Harkin
People Before Profit has said "mass demonstrations" by workers with the support of the local community is the answer to the current crisis facing the education system.
Educators and parents have been consistently raising the alarm about the impact of budget cuts on schools, said the party's Foyleside candidate, Shaun Harkin.
"They've said cuts are leaving schools at 'breaking point'.
"This is not 'scaremongering' as some have claimed. In recent meetings I've had with teachers, classroom assistants and parents the message has been the same - students and our schools are being failed."
He added: "Lay-offs, pay freezes and increased workloads are leaving teachers and school staff demoralised and frustrated. Increased class sizes are becoming unmanageable and undermine the quality of education children are receiving. Complex and special education needs can't be properly met.
"Teachers and support staff are paying for classroom needs out of their pocket. Pressure is growing on already hard pressed parents to raise additional funding. All this is not sustainable.
"The Stormont Executive slashed the education budget. Schools in the North get less funding per pupil than anywhere in the UK.
"The key to ending this crisis is more funding and better allocation of resources. There is plenty of money and we can start properly taxing the super rich and corporations - but the Tories don't think our schools and children are a priority."
He continued: "To break the deadlock People Before Profit has been consistently advocating a people power campaign. When educators, parents, students and our communities begin to mobilise to defend our schools we can get a hearing.
"The truth is this - we have to fight harder to win respect and equality. Without a powerful movement willing to take action demands will continue to go unmet. What do we mean by action? Mass demonstrations, protests, sit-ins, strikes and more involving students, teachers, school staff, parents and all who care about the situation facing schools.
"Students, teachers, school workers and parents all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We all need to get behind their call to defend our schools."

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