Larne Grammar School has confirmed it will be cutting the length of the school day by 10 minutes from September.
In a statement to the Larne Times, principal Jonathan Wylie said the “difficult” decision was taken against a backdrop of declining school budgets.
Mr Wylie was commenting after a letter was issued to parents and guardians detailing how the school day will be reorganised for the next academic year.
The principal said: “Since 2012, schools’ budgets have declined by approximately 10% in real terms.
Individual schools have been attempting to manage this significant cut, whilst at the same time maintaining the quality of educational provision on offer to their pupils. This has resulted in schools being forced to reduce staffing levels, both teaching and support, cut back on spending on resources and facilities maintenance and extra-curricular provision. Many of these cuts have been absorbed by schools and school staff with the result that they have not been noticed by parents and the wider community.
“This, however, is no longer sustainable and boards of governors across Northern Ireland are being faced with unpalatable choices and are being forced to make some very difficult decisions. School leaders are angry and frustrated that they are being placed in this position due to the failure of politicians and, through them, the Department of Education to ensure appropriate levels of funding for schools in Northern Ireland.
“It is within this context that the board of governors of Larne Grammar School, having considered a range of various options, and in an attempt to minimise the impact on pupils and the wider school community, has taken the decision to reduce class time by two minutes per period (equating to 20 minutes per day) from September 2019. The school day itself will only be 10 minutes shorter.
“The governors and staff of the school remain steadfast in their commitment and determination to ensure that the pupils of Larne Grammar School receive the best possible educational experience, and have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, in spite of the many external pressures to which schools are being subjected.”