Councillor ‘furious’ over lack of funding

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Lisburn Councillor Uel Mackin has hit out at the recently established Education Authority, accusing it of “dragging its feet” over the funding of a new sixth form at Beechlawn School in Hillsborough.

However the Education Authority, which replaced the five Education Board last month, said it had not yet received its full budget allocation,

Councillor Mackin, who is also a governor at the school, said he was furious at the attitude of the South East area of the new Education Authority.

“Four years ago I became aware of the need for a sixth form at Beechlawn and along with others successfully campaigned for this and the new facility was started in September 2013.

“As a governor of the school I can confirm that currently there are fifteen new applicants for a place in the sixth Form and the Education Authority is refusing to let us confirm with the parents that their children have in fact secured a place in our sixth form for September 2015.

“The end of term is only a few weeks away and the parents of these children with moderate learning difficulty need confirmation of a place in the school.

“To treat these parents and their children in this fashion is not acceptable by any standard and the issue must be addressed immediately.

“I believe their may a case of discrimination against these children who need stability.

“Last Tuesday evening I raised the issue at the Corporate Services Committee of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and along with fellow governor, Councillor Redpath, got unanimous support that Council take the matter up with the Education Authority.”

A spokesperson for the Education Authority said: “The Education Authority (South Eastern Region) has not received its full budget allocation and accordingly is unable to confirm financial allocations at this time.”