Schools must make difficult decisions to stay within the budget

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The finance director of the Ministry of Education warned that education is facing a "difficult" result in the budget

Schools were told that they had to make "hard decisions" to stay within budget in 2019-20.

The warning comes from a letter from the Finance Director of the Department of Education (DE), Gary Fair.

Mr. Fair also wrote that Education faced a "difficult" result from Northern Ireland's budget

However, he said that there would be an additional £ 7.25 million for the overall school budget (ASB) in 2019-2020.

This represents a 0.6% increase on the £ 1.167 billion funding for schools in 2018-2019.

Schools will also receive a £ 54.6m supplement specifically earmarked for increased public sector pension costs – including teachers – as of April 1st.

Maintaining funding

The NAC is the money that goes directly to more than 1,000 schools funded by the department.

The money that a school receives each year depends on a number of factors, including its number of students, the number of students with additional needs and the size of the buildings school.

About 80% to 90% of a school's funding is normally used to pay for staff costs, including classroom teachers and assistants.

Fair said the ministry would be able to maintain the amount of funds received per student at current levels.

What follows reductions in recent years.

Individual school financial allocations for 2019-20 were also confirmed.

"Do not underestimate the challenges"

"It is essential that all school budgets are managed assuming that there will be no more allocation during the year of the department during the 2019-20 fiscal year" said Fair.

"I am fully aware of the difficulties this budget result will bring to schools and I do not underestimate the challenges ahead."

The Northern Ireland Audit Office has already stated overall school budget has decreased by 10.4% in real terms since 2012-13.

The Administration of Education has also stated that nearly half of schools in Northern Ireland will be in deficit this year.