Cash found to ease Northern Ireland school budgets

image captionMr O'Dowd said the money would avoid the need for hundreds of job losses

Education Minister John O'Dowd has said negotiations with other Stormont Executive ministers have resulted in them finding a "substantial" amount of money which will be allocated directly to schools.

It follows talks involving the NI first and deputy first ministers and the finance minister.

More details on the three-year plan will be revealed next week.

Mr O'Dowd said it would avoid the need for hundreds of job losses in schools.

"This is a good news story for our education system," he said.

"The executive, through the office of first minister and deputy first minister, the finance minister and I, have listened very carefully to the concerns raised by schools.

"We have had positive discussions and we have managed to find a substantial investment for our education system which will help alleviate the pressures bearing down on them."

Avril Hall Callaghan, general secretary of the Ulster Teachers' Union, said she hoped the announcement would save threatened jobs in the classroom.

"We have worked tirelessly over the last months to stress to the education minister the dire ramifications of the cuts to the education budget. We are relieved that he seems to be listening," she said.

"Our hope is that the funding which has been found will avoid the need for what could have been hundreds of job losses in schools - including teachers and classroom assistants, with the unavoidable impact that would have on our children's learning."