Governors not thought ready to go into debt

14th April 1995 at 01:00
Just one in six parents believe school governors would set deficit budgets to avoid education cuts, a nationwide survey has revealed.

More than 1,000 parent-teacher associations said governors at their schools would not risk direct confrontation over budgets. With union officials now receiving Section 188 notices - the first stage of the formal consultation over job losses - 99 per cent of parents surveyed called on ministers to fund fully the teachers' pay award.

The survey by the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations almost unanimously called for education to be given a higher priority in Government allocation of funds.

Ministers' refusal to fund the 2.7 per cent salary rise has left local authorities with an additional Pounds 294 million to find on top of the Pounds 11 billion teachers' pay bill. Research carried out by Manchester University for The TES and reported in last week's issue by Manchester University reveals that more than 14,000 teachers' jobs are likely to be lost by August 1996.

While 99 per cent of the 2,187 respondents to the NCPTA survey believed Government should fully fund the award, 33 per cent said that if it did not schools should raid their own savings. A total of 7 per cent said governors should sack staff, 10 per cent said they should increase class sizes, 43 per cent that they should cut other areas of the budget while 13 per cent said parents would pay more towards essentials.

Nearly three-quarters of the replies to the survey, which points out that the NCPTA's charitable status does not allow it to condone illegal actions, were from primary schools, 17 per cent from secondaries and 3 per cent from special schools - 4 per cent were from GM schools.

Three-quarters of the responses came from the English shire counties, which are facing cuts of Pounds 187 million from education budgets, while 13 per cent were from the metropolitan authorities, 6 per cent from London and 5 per cent from Wales.

The highest response rate among the English counties was from schools in Lancashire (106) which allowed 1.8 per cent for the pay award and is facing cuts of Pounds 28 million. In Devon, where the Lib-Dem-controlled authority has been given until May to justify spending above its Government-imposed limit, there were 86 responses.

The biggest returns in London, where Pounds 12.4 million is being cut from education budgets, came from Enfield and Bromley (11 each) while in the metropolitan authorities, which are facing cuts of at least Pounds 58 million, Leeds and the Wirral sent 19 replies and Sheffield 14. In Wales there were 116 replies, the most from Clwyd (30).

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