In February of this year, controversy erupted at plans by the local Department of Education to open a scheme which would replace 500 older or retiring teachers with newly-qualified staff.  The huge number of temporary teachers that have been qualified for a number of years kicked up such a fuss, rightly so, that the scheme was scrapped.  You can read the original BBC story here.

I think it would be fair to say that many in NI probably assume that their child’s teacher is there on a permanent basis, a staple in their child’s development – but this is not true.

BtP asked the Department of Education to outline, since 2011, how many teachers in each Assembly constituency have been or are working on temporary contracts.  In their response, the Department were keen to point out that ‘the total has not been provided for each year as there are teachers who have worked in one or more constituency in each year and as such a total would give an inflated count’ – so will not count a teacher who has worked in Derry and then Fermanagh, twice.

The figures are certainly higher than I was expecting, as were the constituencies with the highest prevalence of teachers on temp contracts.

Upper Bann has a consistently higher number than any other constituency, peaking at 734 teachers in 2013/14, and sitting at 714 in 2015/16.  Surprisingly, Foyle is at the bottom of the list, with a high of 425 teacher on temp contracts in 2012-13, and sitting at 416 in 2015/16.

The top five constituencies with the consistently highest numbers of teachers on temp contracts is as follows:

  1. Upper Bann
  2. North Belfast
  3. Newry and Armagh
  4. Fermanagh and South Tyrone
  5. South Belfast

In total over the years for which we have data, there have always been over 10,000 teachers across the North on temporary contracts.





Education has been a key aspect of the lacklustre election campaign for the NI Assembly which takes place today, May 5th – so we wanted to look into what has been happening with school budgets across NI.

We were given reams and reams of data and whilst it took a few days to analyse these, we felt it only fitting to release it today.

Post-primary schools across NI have lost a mammoth £4,605,338 since last year.  This doesn’t take into account school closures or mergers such as the opening of St Ronan’s College in Lurgan, merging three schools.

The biggest drops in funding are in Holy Cross College which has lost 77 pupils and £417k, Lisneal College which has lost 86 pupils and £370k and Sacred Heart College Omagh which has lost 46 pupils and £228k.

The variations are reflective of per-capita spending which is different across much of the schools estate.

Derry has been particularly badly hit, with all post-primary schools except St Brigid’s Carnhill suffering a drop in funding from last year.  Oakgrove Integrated, which has the highest per-capita spend of any Derry post-primary at £4,740 lost over £210,000 from their budget compared to last year.

In total, when calculating the losses of the ten post-primary schools in the City, a massive £1,247,912 has been slashed from budgets.

For example, this is the budget outturn for 2015 and 2016 for those ten schools in the City;


Of course, there are winners and losers across the region, and other schools have gained money based on their per-capita headcount and transitional budgets.



Information released to BtP under Freedom of Information by the Department of Education show schools in Derry and West Belfast are spending thousands of pounds under the Extended Schools Programme to provide breakfast clubs for their students.

The Department of Education’s (DE) extended schools programme provides additional financial support to eligible schools to help improve the life chances of children and young people particularly from deprived areas.

BtP asked the Department to outline ‘the number of schools i.e. Nursery, primary and post primary that offer free breakfast clubs for pupils either funded from their own budgets or from the Department specifically (please specify funding stream) broken down by Assembly constituency since 2011′.

The Department informed us that:

‘the Department does not hold information on the provision of free school breakfasts across the entire schools estate.

However the additional resources made available via the Department’s Extended Schools (ES) programme can be used for a range of activities including breakfast clubs. The focus of the ES programme is on improving educational outcomes, reducing barriers to learning and providing additional support to help improve the life chances of disadvantaged children and young people.’

£2.65m has been spent as part of this programme across the region since 2012-13 to cater for Breakfast clubs.  Each year from 2012-2015 with the exception of 2014-15, 2014 schools right across the region have benefitted from the Extended Schools programme.


In each of the years from 2012 until the end of 2015 inclusive, at least one Derry school and one West Belfast school have been included in the 5 highest-spending on breakfast provision for their students in NI.

In the Foyle constituency, the top school for spending on breakfast clubs alternated between either St Patrick’s Primary or St Joseph’s Boys School in Creggan.

In West Belfast, it is St Mary’s CBS or Christ the Redeemer Primary School respectively.  Of all the data BtP received from the Department of Education, St Patrick’s Primary School in Foyle has by far the largest budget, at almost £17,000 in 2014-15.


Earlview P.S is situated in South Antrim, whilst Christ the Redeemer and St. Mary’s CBS are situated in West Belfast.  St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Boys are in Foyle.


Again, the same schools are in the top five with the exception of Fleming Fulton in this year, which is situated in South Belfast.


The 2014-15 figures mirror those of 2012-13, in a different order, with South Antrim, West Belfast and Foyle schools topping the spend.


The 2015-16 figures suggest St Paul’s in South Armagh and St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s just outside Derry join the other schools that are static throughout the figures.

For the first time, we are going to release the full FOI response we received from the Department, showing all of the school figures. (.xlsx format)

Breakfast_Club_Extended Schools 12.13

Breakfast clubs provided through Extended Schools programme 13.14 14.15 and 15.16…