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Headteachers call for protest on Saturday as Lancashire faces £76m Education Cut

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Save Our Schools March & Rally poster
Click to enlarge
Author: 
Chris Satori

 

Government changes to the way school budgets are calculated will result in a loss of £76,261,093 to the Lancashire schools budget by 2019 - equivalent to -£496 per pupil  or the loss of 2047 teachers. 

Local schools threatened with heavy losses

All schools will lose out, but most schools in our Lancaster & Morecambe area will actually see much greater than average losses by 2019:

Ripley St Thomas faces a whopping -£825,829 budget cut, Morecambe Community School faces a -£775,273 cut and Heysham High a loss of -£478,755. Bowerham Primary & Nursery School is set to lose -£149,531, Ridge Community Primary School -£149,666 and Moorside Primary School -£176,907, to name but a few. You can find out how each individual school is affected at http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/

Headteachers call for action

Lancaster & Morecambe Primary Headteachers Cluster are calling for a demonstration march against these cuts at noon this Saturday 13 May from Dalton Square in Lancaster.

They are asking people to assemble from 11am, when there will be stalls and children's activities (you are invited to bring a picnic), to march at 12 noon, returning for speeches and planning from 1pm (see poster). 

Three lots of cuts at once

The national education system faces a triple onslaught - a cash freeze on the amount of funding for each pupil, government proposals to remove the Education Services Grant to local authorities this August, and the proposed introduction of a National Funding Formula (NFF) that will bring more cuts to schoolchildren in the North-West than to any other area. 

The cuts will result, amongst many other things, in:

  • increased class sizes,
  • increased class sizes,
  • loss of school staff, and
  • cuts to extra-curricular activities and resources.

Educational Policy Institute: The most disadvantaged pupils hit hardest

The Educational Policy Institute (EPI) reports that:

"Even though a greater share of funding is proposed to be allocated to disadvantaged pupils, EPI research finds that the overall impact of redistributing the schools budget results in shifting funding away from the most disadvantaged pupils towards what is considered the ‘just about managing’ group.

They found that:

  • The most deprived primary and secondary schools (those with more than 30 per cent of pupils on free school meals) experience a small net gain of £5.6m, overall, but the most deprived secondary schools will actually see falls.
  • Other primary and secondary schools (those with less than 30 per cent of pupils on free school meals) gain an additional £275m overall. Many of these schools have very low levels of disadvantage.
  • Pupils who live in the least deprived areas (as measured by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) experience the highest relative gains.
  • Additional funding for low prior attainment means that the lowest performing schools in the country are set to gain £78.5m more, overall, than the top performing schools.

The EPI  also considered the impact of inflationary pressures (highlighted by the National Audit Office) and the removal of the Education Services Grant, when assessing overall changes to school finances between 2016-17 and 2019-20.

They estimate that by 2019-20:

  • There are unlikely to be any schools in England which will avoid a real terms cut in per pupil funding by 2019-20, even in areas benefiting from the new formula;
  • Indeed, up to half of primary schools and around half of secondary schools will be faced with significant real cuts in funding per pupil of between 6 and 11 per cent by 2019-20;
  • This amounts to an average real terms loss nationally of £74,000 per primary school and £291,000 per secondary school.
  • This equates to, on average, the loss of almost 2 teachers across all primary schools and 6 teachers across all secondary schools.

NAO reports risk to schools 'significant'

According to The National Audit Office, schools already face an eight per cent cut in pupil funding between 2015 and 2020 under the current spending settlement. The NAO report into the financial sustainability of schools found significant risks, stating 'The government’s approach to managing the risks to schools’ financial sustainability cannot be judged to be effective or providing value for money until more progress is made.'

What do our MPs think? 

Lancaster & Morecambe MP Cat Smith (Lab) will be speaking at the rally in support of adequate funding for schools. She recently wrote: 

"Our children only get one chance at an education and we want to see them in schools which are well resourced and help them learn. Theresa May has been at the heart of this failing Government for the last seven years – they are failing to deliver on the basics in education and harming standards by creating serious problems in our schools. Nothing is more important than raising standards and having excellent teachers in our schools. I will always focus on what matters most in our schools – driving up the quality of teaching in classrooms."

Morecambe & Lunesdale MP David Morris (Con) said during a Parliamentary discussion about school funding on January 25: “I am fed up of the unions politicising my children and constituency." 

 

 

 

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