20th Aug, 2019

Redditch councillor joins call to give more money to local schools

LEADING Redditch borough and county councillor Pattie Hill has backed a campaign calling for money to be put into schools education.

Coun Hill, who has spent much of her career working in child welfare, has added her name to a letter signed by more than 1,000 councillors urging Education Secretary Damian Hinds to end the school funding crisis.

The issue was highlighted by the Redditch Standard two weeks ago after local headteachers joined 7,000 of their colleagues around the country in writing to parents warning them of the cash crisis in education.

Worcestershire has historically had low funding from the government, hundreds of pounds per pupil less than in areas like Birmingham and Coventry.

Adrian Ward, headteacher at Trinity High School said: “Our slice of the funding cake is already smaller than most.

“However, despite assurances by the government to the contrary, funding per pupil has decreased by eight per cent in real terms since 2010.

Clive Sentance, principal at Alcester Grammar School, said although more money was going into schools, that failed to take into account rising costs in National Insurance and pension contributions.

No allowance had been made either for a surge of half a million more pupils due to a spike in the birth rate.

The letter signed by Coun Hill and from the National Education Union of Councillors, cites figures that show income at primary level has fallen from £4,104 per pupil in 2015-16 to £3,991 in 2019-20, a collective cut of £595,996 across the borough.

At secondary level the money has fallen from £5,259 in 2015-16 to £5,081 in 2019-20, a drop of £481,070.

Coun Hill said: “This situation cannot go on. Schools and colleges in Redditch desperately need additional funding to ensure our children and young people get the education they deserve.”

Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Redditch Rebecca Jenkins, herself a teacher said: “Here in Redditch Trinity High School has had £930,200 cut since 2015, Arrow Vale £679,867 and St Augustine’s £642,484.

“We are seeing class sizes increasing, buildings crumbling and resources depleting.

“I have had to pay for equipment and books for students at my own expense.

“The pay cap has added to the recruitment and retention crisis of staff who feel undervalued.”

Redditch MP Rachel Maclean met with Education Secretary Damian Hinds last week to discuss the funding issue facing local schools.

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