East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Last chance to speak up about funding cuts for our local schools

Many on this forum have an interest in the East Dulwich Schools their children go to or hope to go to. You may have heard about the national funding formula for schools that the government is seeking to introduce. While most people would agree that school funds should be allocated fairly, the new formula takes significant money away from some schools, including the majority of London schools - with Southwark particularly hard hit. Combined with other changes such as cuts to the education services grant and school inflation, this means funding cuts for local schools by 2019 like this:

- Goose Green School - £1,003 per pupil or equivalent of 10 teachers
- Goodrich Primary School - £855 per pupil or equivalent of 11 teachers
- Heber Primary School - £890 per pupil or equivalent of 8 teachers
- Ivydale Primary School - £951 per pupil or equivalent of 11 teachers

You can see breakdowns for all schools on www.schoolcuts.org.uk.

A letter from Southwark Heads - representing all the headteachers across Southwark - says: “The biggest losers in this will be the children. This level of cuts can only result in job losses and this will have a direct impact on children’s outcomes. Simply put, there will not be the appropriate numbers of staff to meet the needs of the children. The quality of children’s education will suffer as a result.” [www.southwarknews.co.uk]

The government consultation closes 22 March - next Wednesday. If you have five minutes spare please use them to respond to the consultation, write a quick email to the Secretary of State and sign the local and national petitions. A very clear, simple guide to what to do is set out here: [southwarkfairfunding.wordpress.com]

Southwark heads, governors, teachers, MPs and councillors are all speaking out about this serious risk to our children's education. But parent pressure needs to be loud enough to make the difference - please do what you can to have your say before 22 March.
Is that right?

No-one wants cuts, but schools do need to be more efficient. They have had increases in £££ for years.

I dont know the details of these schools but for example - are they sharing costs of their 'back office functions'? Thats what a business would do to save money. Also do they have reserves to get them through difficult times.
Pressure needs to be put on local councils- especially Labour ones- to stop using our children's education as a political football. The councils get the money and it is up to them what they do with it (local democracy and you voted for them)...and they are renowned for depriving front-line services of essential funds whilst maintaining saturation levels of admin staff.
The proposed losses for Secondaries are huge.

Cuts Per pupil per year:
Charter £1,216
Harris Boys £1,107
Harris Girls £1,375
Harris Peckham £1,379
Sydenham £825

Have a look at The FairFunding Campaign [www.fairfundingforallschools.org] . This is a parent-led campaign. These cuts are not the fault of local councils, they are government imposed. It is not the fault of the schools' management - they are ALREADT+Y cutting so-called 'back office' stuff. Plenty of schools now demand that TAs supervise lunch, for no extra money, having done away with dinner staff. Schools have cut trips out, extra curricular provision, music lessons and restricted choices available. They are already cut to the bone.

These cuts represent about 18 full time teachers from these secondary schools.

We cannot be complacent about this, sitting round carping about councils and how schools ought to manage better.

If you want to see the level of schools finding maintained, not cut sign the petition: [www.change.org]

The FairFundng Campaign has a template to use for writing to your MP.

Find out how much YOUR schools stands to lose here [www.schoolcuts.org.uk.]
Well said Carbonara for your response, anyone who cares about having successful state schools both in London and the rest of the country should try and spend five minutes on this - a number of the secondaries have had parents meetings to explain to parents the kinds of cuts to education these funding cuts will mean, such as reduced subjects offered and larger classes. Many of the primary heads are saying that they cannot see how they can manage these cuts without job losses.

No one is trying to use education as a political football here - this parent-led campaign is cross party and MPs of all parties are opposing these unreasonable and counterproductive cuts to education. So please see the links above. It is not difficult to complete the government consultation itself - you can find it here: [consult.education.gov.uk] and a short guide to completing it here: [www.fairfundingforallschools.org] (closes this wednesday 22 March)
Everything else you can do is on this page: [www.fairfundingforallschools.org]
Just to echo Carbonara and savester's comments:

It's a long time since local authorities decided how much to spend on education. This is a central government decision. The government claims that funding is increasing but it's not increasing as fast as inflation or as fast as the number of pupils is rising so income per pupil is falling drastically -
“Mainstream schools have to make £3.0 billion in efficiency savings by 2019-20 against a background of growing pupil numbers and a real-terms reduction in funding per pupil. The Department is looking to schools to finance high standards by making savings and operating more efficiently but has not yet completed its work to help schools secure crucial procurement and workforce savings. Based on our experience in other parts of government, this approach involves significant risks that need to be actively managed. Schools could make the ‘desirable’ efficiencies that the Department judges feasible or could make spending choices that put educational outcomes at risk. The Department, therefore, needs effective oversight arrangements that give early warning of problems, and it needs to be ready to intervene quickly where problems do arise.”

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 14 December 2016 [www.nao.org.uk]

At the same time costs are rising, and funding for schools in London is being redistributed to other areas which have historically been underfunded.

There is no doubt that funding for schools is going to be reduced significantly.

The thing is that back office functions are a tiny fraction of costs at most schools, of course, if savings can be found they should be but staff costs make up around 80% of school spending so it is inevitable that there will be staff cuts to balance the books.

The class size limit of 30 pupils only applies in reception and KS1 so schools might increase class sizes at KS2 to reduce costs.

There is no statutory requirement to have a TA in every class so schools could reduce the TA headcount significantly

The breadth of the curriculum, enrichment activities, subsidies for school journeys etc. for families that can't afford the full cost are all at risk.

Some schools have already started to ask parents to pay to subsidise their child's education.

If none of that seems like a problem to you then fine, but if you think that those sorts of changes would have a material and negative impact on your child's education then please don't just sit and hope it doesn't happen - please do try to stop it - [www.fairfundingforallschools.org]
Absolutely agree with previous three commenters' posts. I went to the meeting at the Hamlet school the other week and it is painfully obvious that all local schools are going to have to make serious cuts in staff, increase in class sizes, reduction of extra-curricular activities and options etc if this funding formula goes through.

Babyelephant, yes, the government keeps telling us they've been spending more on education, but what they're forgetting to mention is that this is against the backdrop of growing numbers of children, not to mention a whole host of other rising costs. When you take into account the increasing numbers of kids in the system; inflation; increases to NI contributions, teachers' wages and pensions (not funded by central government); apprenticeships levys etc, they are already set to suffer a 6.5% shortfall in spending in real terms by 2019, according to the IFS. And this is set to get much worse if this new funding formula goes ahead, and will disproportionately affect London schools. This is not something that just sharing a bit of photocopying can solve.

London schools have been a real success story over the past ten years or so - I still remember the time when everyone used to move out of London when they had secondary-school age kids but now people are falling over each other to get places. Let's fight to stop this progress being jeopardised.

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