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Northern Ireland's education system under strain.

Northern Ireland's education system under strain.

Northern Ireland's education system is under "considerable strain" and faces "severe financial challenges", according to a senior civil servant.

The Department of Education's top official, Derek Baker, made the comments in the accounts for 2017-18, which have just been published.

The Education Authority overspent its budget by about £19m last year.

That is mainly due to increased spending on schools and pupils with special educational needs.

It follows a similar overspend by the Education Authority in 2016-17 for which it was criticised by the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

    

Mr Baker said that schools were facing unprecedented pressures and an increasing number were moving into financial deficit.

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