Schools ‘facing £21m cuts’, say teaching unions

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Schools could be forced to cut jobs and increase class sizes because of cuts to their budgets, it is feared.

Academies and schools in the Wakefield District could see an overall reduction in funding of £21m between now and 2020, according to an analysis by teaching unions.

The cash shortfall is equivalent to hundreds of teachers and hundreds of pounds per pupil, the unions claimed as they urged a re-think by the government.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said district schools faced cuts under two possible funding scenarios revealed by ministers.

She said: “Schools in Wakefield are already under pressure, hit by government cuts to their maintenance budgets, and higher national insurance and pension contributions.”

An analysis by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said Hemsworth Arts and Community College would see a change in its budget of £462,514 between now and 2019.

That would be equivalent to £415 per pupil and 15 teaching jobs.

Pontefract’s Halfpenny Lane Junior and Infant School was facing a £185,886 funding cut - or £469 per pupil and five teachers.

New College Pontefract’s budget could fall by £717,970 over the same period, equivalent to 39 teaching assistants, said the unions. Their School Cuts website said: “Unless the government allocates more money, this college faces a funding cut of 8 per cent per student in real terms between 2015 and 2020, on top of the 12 per cent cuts suffered from 2010 to 2015.”

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT said: “No headteacher should be put in the position of increasing class sizes, leaving building repairs undone or cutting staff and resources simply to balance the books. Nor should any parent accept this for their child. We are one of the richest countries in the world.

“We can and we should be funding our schools properly.”

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, added: “If the government doesn’t increase the overall amount of funding for schools, a generation of children will have a severely restricted education with nothing beyond the basic curriculum and thousands of school staff will lose their jobs.”