5th Mar, 2021

Schools 'at breaking point' as cash crisis hits says Redditch headteacher

Ross Crawford 15th Mar, 2019

LOCAL headteachers have joined more than 7,000 of their colleagues nationwide to write to parents warning them of the crisis they face in school funding.

The action came after Education Secretary Damian Hinds twice refused to meet campaigners from the WorthLess? group of headteachers to discuss the dire state of school funding.

Adrian Ward, Headteacher at Redditch’s Trinity High School said schools were now at breaking point: “The financial situation faced by schools in Worcestershire is the worst I have known in 27 years.

“Worcestershire has historically been one of the worst funded authorities in England and as a result headteachers are used to making a little go a long way.

“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.

“At sixth form level this is even worse at 20 per cent real terms cuts.”

He added that despite everything being done to minimise the impact on pupils more and more schools were needing to cut teaching posts, support roles and subjects.

“This is also against a backdrop of schools needing to take on more of the support and responsibilities previously fulfilled by outside agencies, such as health and social services,” he added.

“Politicians, both local and national, cannot keep burying their heads in the sand. Schools are now at breaking point.”

Clive Sentance, Principal at Alcester Grammar School, added: “The national picture is pretty bleak.

“While we at Alcester have had the benefit of being able to expand and make economies of scale there are a lot of schools in less favourable circumstances.

“The Government is talking about more money going into education but the amount per pupil is going down and the amount we need to give back in terms of National Insurance and pensions is going up.”

He added schools were also facing increasing pupil numbers without any increase in funding.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “In the year that he has been in post the Education Secretary has secured an extra £400m of capital funding for schools, provided an additional £350m to local councils for high needs funding and has been making a strong case for Education Spending across Government ahead of the next spending review.

“School funding in England is at its highest ever level, rising from almost £41bn in 2017-18 to £43.5bn by 2019-20.”

[BLOB] Figures from the independent fact checking charity https://fullfact.org/education/spending-schools-england/ show that while school funding is ‘at record levels’ this doesn’t to take into account increased pupils numbers and inflation, which show that per-pupil funding has fallen since 2015.

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