CHALLENGES and major changes lie ahead as financial pressures increase, according to the Isle of Man’s TUC president.
Andrew Shipley, who took up the post earlier in the year, said the current Scope of Government report could have serious implications but he was reassured by pledges from the island’s Chief Minister to stimulate the economy rather than adopt so-called ‘slash and burn’ policies.
‘The financial problems facing the Isle of Man are great and I believe that we all have a part to play in taking the economy forward.
‘Funding needs to be available to encourage job creation, growth and hence continuing prosperity on the island.
‘I believe this needs to go hand-in-hand with discussions about the Scope report.’ Mr Shipley said.
As well as being the island’s TUC president, Mr Shipley is also the Isle of Man branch secretary for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the executive member for Lancashire and the Isle of Man.
As a teacher at St Ninian’s High School he praised the support of his head teacher Andrew Fox and the Department of Education and Children.
‘Teaching is my first priority and I am very fortunate that my headteacher at St Ninian’s, Mr Fox and the Department of Education and Children value what I do as a lay union official for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and as an employee representative on the board of the Public Sector Pensions Authority,’ he said.
One of the biggest challenges in education, he said, was balancing the books on a limited budget and the reality would hit as the new school term starts.
‘We will see what the effect practically has been, whether increased class sizes, year groups being doubled up in primary schools, textbooks being shared, department budgets being squeezed still further, amongst other things and later in the year, possibly school curriculums being reviewed and subjects dropped, with staff being made redundant,’ he said.
‘Many money-saving strategies could well be tried out such as using ‘ebooks’, which pupils can access electronically at a fraction of the cost of paper textbooks for those with computer access.’
As an ATL executive member he has involvment in the £15m-plus finances of the organisation which he said gives him a better understanding of the pressures faced by businesses.
He also warned of the wider impact following the Scope report, which he believes will herald changes to services previously taken for granted.
Some could well cost more and others may cease to be charge-free.
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Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
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Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
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