Reserve raided

4th April 2003 at 01:00
PEAFIELD Lane primary in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, is facing a pound;26,000 shortfall.

Rising national insurance and pension contributions have hit the 350-pupil school hard, adding pound;26,000 to its pound;440,000 teaching bill.

Head John Peck says he "cannot blame" the Labour-controlled county council, which has put an extra pound;1.2 million into education across Nottinghamshire. Instead he blames central government.

"The expenses we are facing are way in excess of our income. Pensions contributions are up by more than pound;20,000 and there is around a pound;6,000 increase for national insurance," he said.

The salary bill for the 12 teachers rose from pound;410,000 last year to pound;440,000 this year as staff progressed up the career ladder.

Reserves which had been set aside for a temporary fall in pupil numbers have had to be used to plug the funding shortfall. "I put pound;57,000 away but I could not anticipate these extra costs. There has been no real increase in our funding at all.

"The reality is the Government pays it out with one hand and then takes it out with the other. We are seeing it at the sharp end in our school budget.

"I do not think the Secretary of State realises just how fast our costs are going up. They are rising faster than the amount being put in."

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