Schools are ‘betrayed’ as budgets cut

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The government has been accused of betraying the country’s children after it emerged that all schools face cuts to their budgets.

Secondary schools could lose the equivalent of six teachers because of reduced funding which will hit the poorest pupils hardest.

Paula Sherriff MP.

Paula Sherriff MP.

That is according to a new report which reveals that secondaries in England will lose almost £300,000 on average and primary schools will lose £74,000 in real terms.

An analysis by the Education Policy Institute found that a new funding formula proposed by the government will shift cash away from the most disadvantaged pupils.

The report said there were unlikely to be any schools which would avoid real terms cuts to funding because any gains would not exceed rising running costs.

It said: “Around half of primary and secondary schools will be faced with large, real cuts in funding per pupil of between six and 11 per cent by 2019-20

Yvette Cooper MP.

Yvette Cooper MP.

“These estimated funding pressures amount to an average real terms loss of £74,000 per primary school and £291,000 per secondary school. This equates to almost two teachers in an average primary school and six teachers in an average secondary school.”

Kirklees will be among the worst affected of England’s local authority areas, the report suggests.

The district’s schools will see their funding fall by 2.3 per cent on average. Just two Kirklees schools will gain funding and the remaining 169 will lose money.

Among the schools affected is Thornhill Academy, where the TV series Educating Yorkshire was based, will lose an estimated £530,000 - equivalent to £660 per pupil.

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Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said: “This is an appalling betrayal of local children.

“Local schools are threatened with cuts to staff, subjects or school days, or passing the begging bowl around parents. And it’s the worst off who are worst hit.”

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin said all 45 schools in her constituency would lose out.

Ms Brabin said: “This damning report should serve as yet more evidence that the government need to give their school funding plan an urgent rethink.

“Every time I speak to head teachers they tell me it’s getting harder to deliver high quality education under increasing financial strain. Our young people deserve better.”

In Calderdale, schools will gain funding by an estimated 1.3 per cent. Some 24 schools will lose money and 72 will gain.

Almost 1,000 people have signed a petition by Halifax MP Holly Lynch against the new funding formula.

Worst hit in Calderdale will be Park Lane Learning Trust and North Halifax Grammar School, which could lose 2.6 per cent of their funding.

Crossley Heath School could lose 2.3 per cent and Trinity Academy, Halifax, faces a one per cent funding cut.

The Wakefield District will see a 1.6 per cent average reduction to school budgets. Nine schools will gain money but 122 will lose funding.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said: “Cutting school budgets will harm the life chances of young people in Wakefield to get on in life.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper said more than 100 teachers could be lose their jobs in her Pontefract and Castleford constituency.

Ms Cooper said: “We’ve been told that Castleford would lose £2 million a year, Pontefract would lose £2m as well, and Normanton and Knottingley would each lose up to a million. That means loads of teachers being cut, class sizes getting bigger, subjects being cut. It’s a nightmare for our children’s education.”