Headteachers and governors from schools across Wealden met with Nus Ghani MP at Beacon Academy in Crowborough this morning to raise their concerns about the squeeze on school budgets. They discussed the likely impact the proposed new funding formula will have on their schools and the additional costs they face from imposed costs such as increased pension and national insurance contributions.
The Government insist they are spending record amounts on education in England, but in real terms this is because of rising pupil numbers nationally. The National Audit Office has said schools are being hit by rising costs which amount to 8% real-terms cuts in their budgets by 2020. The reality of the situation is that school funding is at a critical point currently and projecting forward with rising inflation and running costs – local schools are alarmed about growing holes in their budgets as outgoings are fast exceeding incomes.
Headteachers spoke about the measures they were having to take to balance their books, such as increasing class sizes, reducing the range of subject options available and asking families for contributions towards trips and activities.
Anna Robinson, Headteacher at Beacon Academy said:
Whilst I and all colleagues that are here today acknowledge that the per pupil premium has been protected and that the government has sought to address the national funding formula, there is simply not enough money in the pot.
Whether primary, secondary or special schools we are having to make increasingly difficult decisions around staffing, curriculum, enrichment and buildings for example to address the immediate and projected shortfalls which are expected to reach £3 billion by 2020. The simple fact is that this needs addressing now so that there is an injection of funds to support schools through the next few years followed by the implementation of a fair and sufficient national funding formula the creates equitability between schools and different areas across the country so that no child is ever disadvantaged or left behind.