The Education Minister for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland

Cygnet House (as one of 16 Preparatory schools in the province and one of 3 Controlled Preparatory Schools) is faced with the Department of Education for Northern Ireland removing a 30% grant-aid funding contribution from the Prep school. The proposed reduction extends to all Preparatory schools across the province and will result in a financial shortfall in the required funding commencing September 2010.

This shortfall will most likely have a significant financial consequence upon:

i) the families of enrolled pupils;

ii) current primary schools budgets and class sizes which may experience an upturn in pupil enrolment as a direct reaction to financial pressures imposed upon families of enrolled Preparatory school pupils - removing the funding removes choice (accessibility being of fundamental consequence to the DENI position) from some financially constrained families;

iii) The financial viability of many of the Preparatory schools as a consequence of funding removal and the destabilising effect caused by exaggerated financial pressures of the families of enrolled Preparatory school pupils.

The proposed funding removal presents a number of of fundamental issues of immediate threat to Preparatory schools in the province, some of which should be challenged and some of which would benefit from the provision of clarification or pursued such that clarity can be established in the immediate term prior to irrevocable decisions and policy changes being established.

Specifically, enabling the broader community to voice a considered opinion on the topic of DENI funding removal from Preparatory schools and the ramifications that will be brought to bear; the method by which this funding removal would be effected and, indirectly, the continuing viability of Preparatory schools in the region (ensuring parents are afforded a choice separate to primary schools which may not offer the pupil comparable opportunity to achieve excellence in Key Stages 1 & 2 as well as transfers)

It may be argued as being fundamentally important on a number of levels that the accelerated funding review, consultation period and proposed enforcement date be delayed until such time as a balanced, objective assessment, considerate of the ramifications change would bring and how these ramifications may directly contradict the basic agenda & principals the Department of Education, can be undertaken and digested.

As concerned parents, alumni, teachers, staff and indirect beneficiaries of the existence (and funding) of Preparatory schools in Northern Ireland, we urge the DENI and specifically the Education Minister to reconsider the proposed removal of the 30% grant-aid funding currently provided to Preparatory schools in the province.

We similarly urge the DENI and the Education Minister to defer the accelerated timeline for funding removal and enter into constructive dialogue with the impacted schools, recognising the financial value it affords the public purse and the potential contradiction of DENI values the funding removal will bring.

Further, we urge that the DENI and the Education Minister undertake a balanced review of the ramifications relating to the ongoing viability of Preparatory schools and the consequence of this as relates to the availability and equality of choice that would be directly impacted.

The Review The Department of Education in Northern Ireland's CFF changes relating to Preparatory School funding removal petition to The Education Minister for Northern Ireland was written by Paul Terry and is in the category Education at GoPetition.