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Press Releases 2015

Teacher Union Critical of Funding Cut to Colleges

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mr Gerry Murphy, Northern Secretary of the Irish National Teachers` Organisation expressed concern and dismay following a decision by Dr Stephen Ferry (DEL) to remove the small colleges premia from St Mary’s and Stranmillis University Colleges.

Speaking about St Mary’s University College Mr Murphy said,

“St Mary’s University College has served the education community and society well for over 100 years.  It provides high quality teaching graduates who are distributed across the entire education system in both teaching and administrative roles.  St Mary’s has been and continues to be key to the improvements that have been brought about in Education across the north in terms of outcomes for pupils and developments in pedagogy more generally.  The College provides 100s of jobs in West Belfast both directly and indirectly in an area which has traditionally suffered from a lack of employment opportunities.”              

Mr Murphy continued,

“St Mary’s regularly tops the league of Colleges in terms of student satisfaction.  The quality of its graduate teachers is recognised across these islands and beyond and a St Mary’s qualification is a passport to employment anywhere in the world. This proposal from Dr Farry, the DEL Minister, is ill conceived and grossly insensitive.  Proposing measures that may lead to the closure of St Mary’s in the middle of an academic year will create uncertainty and worry amongst the student body and staff.  Dr Farry’s withdrawal of the premia, taken alongside the cuts proposed in the DEL budget, fails to consider the cumulative effect closing St Mary’s would have on the maintained sector as a whole and particularly on unemployment levels in West Belfast.”

Mr Murphy concluded,

“INTO today calls upon Dr Farry to meet with representatives of the student body and INTO as a matter of priority and to withdraw these funding proposals.  INTO along with the student body will work to ensure that the ethos and legacy of St Mary’s University College is protected and that the future of the college is secured.”