Skip to main content

Schools sound alarm over funding

Early signs of school funding difficulties for 20045 emerged in several areas this week, as The TES learned that an education authority is already advising schools to cut staff to balance budgets.

Warnings of problems are coming from areas with and without a share of the pound;180 million extra "transitional" funding announced by the Government for the hardest-hit local authorities.

Croydon council will receive pound;2.6m of the money but has warned its schools that the cash will not solve their deficit problems which will continue into a second year if no action is taken. A memo sent to schools in the south London borough says they will need to make pound;6m "urgent" cuts because of central Government's settlement. For most this means cutting staff costs either by reducing numbers or changing the mix of teaching and non-teaching staff.

Heads from the borough met David Hart and John Dunford, general secretaries of the National Association of Head Teachers and of the Secondary Heads Association respectively, last week.

Mr Hart said it did not look as if the guaranteed 4 per cent per pupil funding increase was sufficient for Croydon.

Maureen Martin, head of Coloma Convent Girls school and chair of Croydon Secondary Head Teachers Association, said this was because the increase would be based on last year's inadequate budgets.

She had a pound;158,000 deficit and had to appeal to parents for an extra pound;10,000 a month. Mrs Martin said it would be increasingly difficult for Croydon schools to keep children at school all week in 20045.

Heads in Barnet, north London, will not receive transitional funding, despite being hit hard by last year's crisis. Nick Christou, chair of Barnet secondary heads forum and head of East Barnet School, believes that without a 10-11 per cent per pupil increase this can only get worse.

Heads in North Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Brighton and Hove are also expecting difficulties.

Cambridgeshire Council must respond by next week to the Government's intervention following its decision to pass on just 71 per cent of extra education money to schools.

A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said the Government was continuing to work closely with Croydon and all LEAs on school funding. It was confident the measures announced in October would go a long way to restoring confidence.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you