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Teaching Assistants: Funding

Volume 741: debated on Wednesday 22 November 2023

12. If he will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of allocating additional funding for teaching assistants in Northern Ireland. (900192)

Pay policy in Northern Ireland is devolved, and it is not for the Government to make those decisions. I am sure the hon. Gentleman would agree that such decisions should be made by the Northern Ireland Executive, with Ministers returned there.

I know that the Minister has a deep interest in the affairs of Northern Ireland, and in the wages of classroom assistants. Only last week, thousands of non-teaching staff went on strike from Northern Ireland schools. The action was called over an escalating row over pay, where thousands of people walked out. Will the Minister commit to investigating that in terms of the Barnett consequentials? Can he ascertain what can be done to support teaching assistants in Northern Ireland?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this issue. We are actively considering representations made by trade unions. He raises an important point, and I know that he understands that it is a matter for the Executive. I hope that one day, he and I will be able to celebrate some progress on these issues.