Call for parent power
Torbay school heads’ letter is a call to arms as huge cash cuts threaten children’s education
HEAD teachers from five of Torbay’s biggest schools have called on parents to back a fierce fight over hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding.
They say parents have a part to play in the battle to take back the vital cash.
The biggest loser if the cuts went ahead would be Paignton Community and Sports Academy, which would see its budget reduced by almost £200,000. Torquay Academy would lose more than £180,000, and Brixham Academy would lose more than £100,000.
Torbay’s primary schools would see their budgets cut by more than £590,000.
The letter, jointly signed by the heads of Paignton, Torquay and Brixham Academies, the Spires College in Torquay and St Cuthbert Mayne, also in Torquay, says the schools are set to lose three-quarters of a million pounds – the cost of 20 teachers.
Torbay Council is proposing to take away extra government funding from schools so it can make up for a deficit in spending on services for pupils outside mainstream education.
It says the current level of spend on the ‘Higher Needs Block’ exceeds the money provided.
A spokesman said: “Torbay is not alone in this. Many local authorities across the country are facing pressure and predicting an overspend in their Higher Needs budget.”
HEADS of schools across Torbay have written to parents highlighting council plans to take back hundreds of thousands of pounds of their funding.
The letter jointly signed by five head teachers and principals say their schools are set to lose three-quarters of a million pounds – the cost of 20 teachers.
Across Torbay, primary, secondary and special schools would lose more than £1.4 million next year under the pro- posals from Torbay Council.
The letter to parents is signed by the heads of Paignton Community and Sports Academy, The Spires College in Torquay, Torquay Academy, Brixham College and St Cuthbert Mayne School in Torquay.
Torbay Council is proposing to take away extra Government funding from schools so it can make up for a deficit in spending on services for pupils outside mainstream education.
The heads say the extra cash was being given to Torbay schools under a Government scheme to allocate money more fairly.
They say they are writing to parents “so that you can make your voices heard should you feel that this is unacceptable”.
The letter says taking cash from mainstream schools to cover overspending elsewhere in the education budget is “unfair”.
It adds: “Funding, which has already been allocated to our schools in recognition of years of underfunding of Torbay’s children, is at risk of being diverted to address the local au- thority’s financial position.
“Your voice is important to ensure we are heard and out children receive the funding that they deserve.”
The letter urges parents to make their views known by using a consultation document on Torbay Council’s website by November 21.
Brixham councillor Mike Morey has written to all Torbay councillors saying that the plan to take money from children showed the authority had “plummeted to new depths”.
Mainstream schools would lose more than £1.3m as part of 2a plan to switch money to the Higher Needs budget, which provides for excluded pupils and those with special educational needs and disabilities.
Special schools also face losing £100,000 next year under the proposals.
The biggest loser would be Paignton Community and Sports Academy, which would see its budget reduced by almost £200,000. Torquay Academy would lose more than £180,000, and Brixham Academy would lose more than £100,000.
schools would see their budgets cut by more than £590,000.
The Higher Needs budget is heading for a possible deficit of £2.6m this year, after ending up in the red last year, a council consultation document says.
It is facing pressure from a rising number of pupils with education, health and care plans – a legal document setting out a child’s special education, health and social care needs.
The consultation document is at www.torbay.gov.uk/ media/11894/dsg-higherneeds-block-consultationdocument.pdf