Saturday, 23 September 2017

Teachers' jobs would go under funding reform, claim unions

TWO schools in Wargrave would lose a total of more than £130,000 from their annual budgets under proposed changes to schools funding.

Teachers’ unions say this would mean a loss of staff at Robert Piggott junior and infant schools.

Crazies Hill and Sonning primary schools would also have their budgets cuts under the plans by the Government to change the national schools funding formula in 2020.

The National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers calculated the effect of the changes using Department of Education budget figures for 2015/16 and say that nationwide schools could lose a total of more than £3 billion.

Robert Piggott Junior School in School Hill would lose £80,000 from its annual budget, the equivalent of £445 per pupil, and could be forced to lose two teachers.

The infant school in Beverley Gardens would lose £53,000, or £417 per pupil, and would have to scrap one teacher’s job.

Crazies Hill primary lose more than £40,000 of funding, almost £470 per pupil, and Sonning primary more than £57,000, almost £300 per pupil.

All four schools are in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency.

The new funding formula aims to address inconsistencies across the country, with money moving from well-funded areas like London to schools in areas which receive less support.

At the moment, the formula is calculated by education authorities, which means similar schools in different parts of the country receive vastly different amounts.

Education Secretary Justine Greening, who announced the plans in December, said schools already received record levels of funding and the changes would address “historical imbalances”.

But the plans have been criticised by MPs and unions who say funding is already inadequate and that more than 98 per cent of schools will face budget shortfalls in real terms.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT, said: “There is a gaping hole in the school budget and it is only set to increase through inflation and a rise in pupil numbers.

“The Government has the wrong priorities. They must listen to teachers, heads, support staff and indeed their own backbenchers. There are no winners from the Government’s education policy, only losers and worse losers.”

As the Henley Standard reported two weeks ago, almost all primary schools in the Henley area would receive up to three per cent less money while Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common would be the only secondary to benefit.

Headteachers urged parents to oppose the plans, calling school funding across the region “disdvantageous” and “untenable”.

Henley MP John Howell said he was seeking an urgent meeting with Mrs Greeding to discuss the figures.

“This proposal is intended to instigate fairer funding but Oxfordshire was at the bottom of the pile to begin with and it would be a great shame if more money were taken away,” he said.

There is no data available for Charvil Piggott Primary School or the Piggott School in Wargrave.

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