Schools across Gloucestershire are facing real terms budget cuts as headteachers and governors struggle to cope with unprecedented rises in the costs of their running schools.
Over 80% of most schools’ budget is spent on teachers and support staff. A pay rise for both sets of staff has been agreed by the government without any additional funding to meet the cost. In many secondary schools the bill is over £150,000. Other costs such as electricity and gas have more than doubled, with similar price rises for a wide range of important supplies such as paper and books.
Across the country school funding is calculated to be £1 billion per year less next in real terms. The figures for some of our local schools make stark reading. Balcarras School is facing real terms cuts of £240,000 or £238 per pupil. Pittville School is facing real terms cuts of £230,000 or £260 per pupil. Primary schools are in a similar position. Lakeside Primary faces real terms cuts of £127,000 or £244 per pupil. For Bishops Cleeve Primary it is £156,000 or £238 per pupil.
What will this mean for children in our schools next year? After a decade of austerity schools are looking at falling into deficit unless they make dramatic cuts in their expenditure. This will result in fewer teachers and larger classes and in some schools the disappearance of some option subjects at GCSE and A level. The reduction in teaching assistants will hit the support for the most vulnerable and special needs pupils, and pastoral care will be dramatically reduced. Projects to improve school buildings will be scrapped, the heating will stay off for longer, and school trips and school meals will be affected.
In some parts of the country the response has been more severe. In Sussex all headteachers have written to parents to say that schools will move to a four day week unless government funding is increased.
Surely the government cannot be prepared to allow our children’s schools to face such a state of crisis.
Article from Gloucestershire Echo 17th November 2022