Storey: 'Lessons must be learned' over school redundancies

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Education Committee chairman Mervyn Storey said "lessons need to be learned" after "shameful" handling of teacher redundancies, on 3 September 2014.

Earlier in the year, a number of school staff who believed they had been granted redundancy were told they would have to remain in work.

Education Minister John O'Dowd subsequently found additional funds to cover redundancy packages for those who met the necessary criteria.

DUP MLA Mr Storey said the Education Department had "changed the goalposts" on financial planning, leaving schools preparing for teacher redundancies "in a spin".

He said: "We need clarity from the department. Have they learned anything from this?"

Mr Storey suggested calling departmental officials to appear before the committee for further discussion.

Sinn Fein's Pat Sheehan said letters about redundancy, sent by the department, had been "heavily caveated", but that perhaps the Education Department did not clearly communicate the difficulties that could arise.

Deputy chairman, the UUP's Danny Kinahan, said he wanted to know how soon the "57 who didn't get it" (redundancy) were told.

The SDLP's Sean Rogers agreed that officials should appear before the committee.

He said principals and senior managers at schools had been under stress, needing to sort out redundancies and "re-jig" timetables.

Alliance's Trevor Lunn said that while there were issues with communication, "it does seem the majority of teachers who wanted to get away, did".

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