58 headteachers warn of ‘devastating’ impact of cutbacks

December 02 2018

58 headteachers warn of ‘devastating’ impact of cutbacks

A report compiled by 58 South Gloucestershire headteachers reveals that although only a small minority of schools are currently in deficit, by 2020/21 the majority will be in the red.
Published by the Primary Headteachers’ Executive, and distributed to parents and MPs, the report is based on a survey sent to all local primary schools.  It shows that three quarters of schools have cut teaching assistants, and half of schools have cut teacher hours, in some cases relying on senior leaders to cover lessons.
The document highlights the ‘stark financial landscape’ in the area’s schools, which are amongst the most poorly funded per pupil in England.
Jon Bird, head of St Mary’s School in Yate and the chairman of the South Gloucestershire Primary Headteachers Executive, believes that the crisis will only deepen because more money needs to be found for SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). He said: “It is now set to be compounded by the council needing to reduce the growing deficit in education costs, shown in the current consultation, with a particular focus on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities funding. If we are set to ‘transfer’ 3 million pounds to this deficit from schools funding, from April 2019, many schools will face significant challenges to meet pupils’ needs.”
Many headteachers who took part in the report kept their comments anonymous. One said: “The biggest savings are in teachers: I have cut everything back already and am now having to cut back on the most precious resource that makes the most difference: teachers.”
Another says: “The greatest impact will be on the most vulnerable children; little or no TA support for early intervention.
South Glos Lib Dem Council Group Leader, Claire Young, said: “I welcome the 58 head teachers’ bravery in coming forward to make their concerns public. It is an unusual step for teachers to speak out so publicly. The fact that they have felt forced to do so now just goes to show how desperate the crisis in local schools has become.”
Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council and Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Employment, said: “I share our schools’ concerns about funding. Campaigning with schools, parents, pupils and our MPs, Conservatives in South Gloucestershire were successful last summer in securing just under £8million in additional funding over two years from the Government’s new funding formula – one of the largest increases in the country.”
The headteacher’s report concludes: “We cannot allow our children to be failed in this way. Together we must make ourselves heard.”