WATCH: Head's dilemma - Cut 20 TAs vs a 4.5-day week?

School funding: Head tells politicians about reality of trying to run a school forced to survive on ‘starvation rations’

School funding: One headteacher has told politicians that he is faced with a choice - either cut 20 teaching assistants or move to a 4.5-day week

A headteacher has told a national teaching conference that due to lack of funding he will be forced to either make 20 teaching assistants redundant or go down to a four-and-a-half day week

Richard Slade, headteacher of Plumcroft Primary School in Greenwich, south-east London, said the Conservatives' pledge of extra cash would only amount to around a 2 per cent increase in his budget whereas he needed a 15 per cent increase to balance the books.

Mr Slade was speaking at an “election special” panel event at the Schools and Academies Show in Birmingham.


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Both the Conservative and Labour speakers pulled out of the event at the last minute due to election commitments.

That left Baroness Garden, deputy speaker of the House of Lords (Lib Dem), and Green Party spokesperson Vix Lowthion, a secondary teacher from the Isle of Wight,  to outline their parties' plans to an audience of teachers, school leaders and educationalists. 

School funding: 'Music is going to get chopped'

Taking the microphone in the open questions session, Mr Slade received applause after a speech in which he said he was “between a rock and a hard place” and that despite “all the chops” he had made he still had a deficit of around £270,000 this year.

“On starvation rations, we can just about get through next year without mass redundancies," he said. "But the contingency planning I’m planning is to move to a 4.5 day week and shift all my planning and assessment preparation to  Friday afternoons, or I make 20 of my teaching assistants redundant.”

Mr Slade, whose school has more than 800 pupils and is expanding, also said school trips would disappear, adding: "We’re a centre of excellence for music and sport and we do loads of great things, but music is going to get chopped and my PE specialist teachers are going to go back into class full time.” 

 

Labour's Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, joined hundreds of parents whose children's schools were set to close early on Fridays in a march on Downing Street in July.

 

 

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