t's a fair bet that education will emerge as one of the most kicked-about political footballs over the next year. The Executive will be under pressure to prove that it has met its partnership commitments - 53,000 teachers to cut numbers in P1 and S1-S2 English and maths classes. So that particular tranche of money will be sacrosanct. What, however, will go if councils are to achieve 2 per cent "efficiency savings" overall?
Will it be administrative and support staff, although they are a commitment under the national teachers' agreement? Or might it be staff involved with inclusion, although they have already been shown to make a difference? Or could areas such as continuing professional development programmes suffer, crucial though they may be to learning and teaching?
These dilemmas certainly place education authorities between a rock and hard place. But help may be at hand relatively soon: 2007 is an election year.