SCHOOLS FAC­ING ‘GAP­ING HOLE’ IN FUNDS

Union says bud­get gap could see 450 posts lost

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Katy Clifton katy.clifton@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Katy_Clifton

BUCK­ING­HAMSHIRE is to lose nearly 450 teach­ers by 2020, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Union of Teach­ers (NUT).

Cam­paign­ers say the se­vere cuts in school funds will see the county’s schools re­ceiv­ing £16 mil­lion less in three years.

Over­all, the NUT sug­gests schools will lose an av­er­age of £339 per pri­mary pupil and £477 per sec­ondary pupil be­cause school fund­ing is frozen. NUT divi­sional sec­re­tary An­nette Pryce said this will be detri­men­tal to Buck­ing­hamshire schools. She said: “Un­der this Gov- ern­ment’s fund­ing poli­cies, there are no win­ners, only losers.

“Buck­ing­hamshire schools are be­ing forced to make de­ci­sions that no head teacher should have to make in­clud­ing re­duc­ing school staff and teach­ers, in­creas­ing class sizes, and re­duc­ing the range of sub­jects of­fered sim­ply to bal­ance the books. This is an un­ac­cept­able state of af­fairs – the NUT and ATL will con­tinue cam­paign­ing for ad­di­tional fund­ing, to pro­tect schools and our chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion.”

The NUT’s School Cuts web­site sug­gests that some schools in the county could lose over £200,000 by 2019. One ex­am­ple is Bea­cons­field High School, which School Cuts say will lose £160,000 and four mem- bers of teach­ing staff. An­other is Ger­rards Cross CofE School, which ap­par­ently will lose £138 per pupil and one teacher by 2019.

How­ever, a state­ment made by Zahir Mo­hammed, cabi­net mem­ber for ed­u­ca­tion and skills at Bucks County Coun­cil, contradicts NUT’s neg­a­tive fore­cast.

He said: “We have worked hard to im­prove the fund­ing of our schools and I have said pub­licly many times that seven out of the ten low­est funded schools in the coun­try are here in Buck­ing­hamshire.

“But, far from a re­duc­tion in fund­ing, Buck­ing­hamshire re­ceived an ad­di­tional £18 mil­lion a year for the past two years and – if the cur­rent con­sul­ta­tion is im­ple- mented – will re­ceive an­other £10 mil­lion a year to help the low­est funded schools.”

The cabi­net mem­ber said 54% of na­tional schools will gain from the bud­get changes and 46% will lose, but over­all 85% of Buck­ing­hamshire schools will gain fund­ing.

How­ever, An­nette Pryce from NUT sug­gested that this did not nec­es­sar­ily mean Bucks will ben­e­fit, as the fig­ures take no ac­count of in­fla­tion and the rise in pupil num­bers. She said: “It is true that Bucks schools stand to lose less per pupil than any other au­thor­ity in the re­gion (5% be­tween 2015/16 and 2019/2020), but this is still a sig­nifi- cant cut. The Gov­ern­ment is keen to de­fine its new fund­ing for­mula as ‘fair fund­ing’, but this is non­sense – it can­not be fair with­out new money. There is a gap­ing hole in the school bud­get and it is only set to in­crease through in­fla­tion and a rise in pupil num­bers.

“98.5% of schools will see their fund­ing per pupil fall in real terms - un­less the Gov­ern­ment does the right thing and al­lo­cates more money, schools will to­gether lose £3 bil­lion a year in real terms by 2020.”

To find out how the NUT be­lieves your child’s school will be af­fected, visit www.school­cuts.org.uk.

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