Millions set to be slashed from school budgets in Stratford district - The Stratford Observer

Millions set to be slashed from school budgets in Stratford district

Stratford Editorial 24th Mar, 2017   0

OVER £5million is set to be slashed from school budgets in Stratford district.

It has raised fears the severe Government cost-cutting, part of a new national schools funding formula, will stretch educational resources in the district to the limit.

Website – set up by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and education union ATL – predicts how much individual school budgets are set to lose by 2019.

In Stratford district, Stratford School’s estimated loss is £736,000; Stratford Girls’ Grammar’s £410,000; KES’ £262,000; Shipston High’s £376,000; Kineton High’s £474,000; Alcester Grammar’s £400,000; St Benedict’s High’s £325,000; Alcester Academy’s £281,000; Henley’s £316,000; Studley’s £382,000, and Southam’s £821,000.

It also predicts such sweeping cuts could also result in the loss of 128 teacher jobs across the district’s 11 secondary schools.

And primary schools are also set be hit. The independent research body the Education Policy Institute suggests the new national funding formula would on average see each primary school lose out to the tune of more than £70,000.

Warwickshire NUT Division Secretary Martin McMahon said the cuts were the most severe in living memory, and would see funding sink lower than at any time since 1960.

He said: “The impact will be larger class sizes, fewer teaching assistants, fewer textbooks and other resources.

“The life chances of the most vulnerable will be hit hardest – those with learning difficulties and other special needs, and those from less well-off families whose parents are least able to buy the textbooks and other resources which schools will be unable to afford.

“We know many Warwickshire schools are already struggling financially, an example being Trinity Catholic School in Leamington where it is proposed to close the sixth form due to the claim that it is financially unviable.

“All being Conservatives, Warwickshire MPs are in an excellent position to send this clear message to the government – education is an investment not a cost. Cutting this investment can only make our precarious future outside the EU much more so.

“Today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce. If we under-invest in our workforce compared with our competitors, what chance have we got?”

But fellow Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi in neighbouring Stratford was quick to voice his opposition.

Mr Zahawi told The Observer: “I share the concerns of heads, teachers, governors, parents, and pupils within my constituency about the effect that the present funding proposals would have on their schools.

“This is particularly so in the case of secondary schools. Without taking rising costs and inflation into consideration, the proposals cut funding for secondary schools in my constituency by an average of 1.3 per cent in the first year and 2.3 per cent in the second and subsequent years of the proposed formula’s implementation.

“In my recent meetings with them, head teachers have made it very clear to me that the proposed cuts are simply unsustainable, especially given that most if not all schools have already undertaken significant measures to reduce costs in recent years in order to accommodate tightening budgets.

“I fully support the Department for Education’s commitment to delivering a fairer national funding formula for schools so that the current postcode lottery is abolished.

“I do feel, however, that the present proposals are not right for schools in my constituency and it is for this reason that I am supporting them in their opposition to the cuts.”

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