Who will get the sack?

2nd May 2003 at 01:00
ROBIN Curtis does not give a damn who is responsible for the funding crisis. His worry is where he is going to find the cash to avoid making three teachers and two support staff redundant.

The head of Dane Court grammar in Broadstairs runs one of the most successful schools in Kent. The school has achieved record results and been praised by the Government.

The budget at his 1,140-pupil school has risen by almost pound;91,000 this year to pound;3.4 million, but he still faces a deficit of pound;180,000 due to increased staff costs and national insurance contributions.

No final decision has been taken but Mr Curtis believes that he may have to make three of his 80 teachers and two of the 20 support staff redundant, seriously harming the school's academic achievement. Last year, 98 per cent of pupils gained five C grades or better at GCSE, way ahead of the national average of 52 per cent.

Mr Curtis had expected a difficult year financially because of a drop in pupil numbers, but said: "We were not expecting a fall of this magnitude.

The only way we can make savings is by making cuts to both teaching and non-teaching staff."

Unions have been alerted to the fact redundancies may be needed and he is hoping to avoid compulsory job losses.

"Planned changes to the curriculum will allow us to take up some of the slack ... but clearly group sizes are likely to suffer and we are concerned about the effect this will have on standards.

"I really couldn't care less whether the LEA or the Government is responsible for this mess. The formula fordistributing funds is socomplicated most experts don't understand it, so it's no wonder that some money has gone missing."

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