More than half of secondary schools are planning to make staff redundant, axe courses or increase class sizes to stave off financial “disaster”, TES can reveal.
A poll of more than 1,000 secondary headteachers and senior leaders, carried out by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), lays bare the financial pressures faced by schools across the country.
More than four-fifths of respondents said their schools would not have enough funding to meet “essential needs” over the next 12 months. Some could even be forced to reduce opening hours to avoid insolvency, the ASCL warned.
Planned savings over the next year included redundancies, a reduction in the number of courses on offer and increasing class sizes. Many schools are also proposing to cut spending on equipment and teachers’ CPD.
Speaking ahead of the ASCL’s annual conference, which starts in London today, deputy general secretary Malcolm Trobe said several factors had combined to leave schools facing a 4-5 per cent cut in their budgets for 2015-16.
“The situation is extremely difficult,” he said. “We’ve got real funding pressures in 2015 and 2016 from inflation, unfunded pay rises, an increase in employers’ pension contributions from September, an increase in national insurance contributions from next April and, for academies, a reduction in the education services grant.”
A Department for Education spokeswoman said the government had protected the schools budget and was committed to introducing a national funding formula for schools.
At the ASCL conference this afternoon, the union's president Peter Kent was expected to warn that some schools were finding it “impossible” to make ends meet, and insist that children’s education must not be “sacrificed on the altar of deficit reduction”.
“Too many institutions are having to grapple with the reality that the level of funding is not enough to sustain the quality of education that our children deserve,” Dr Kent will say.
“Our children only get one chance and will not understand if we tell them in five years’ time that their education has been sacrificed on the altar of deficit reduction.”
He will use the speech to call for “sufficient, sustainable and equitable” school funding.
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