14th Dec, 2017

Concerns raised about huge school budget cuts

CONCERNS have been raised about cuts which are set to see millions slashed from school budgets in Warwick district.

More than £5.5million is set to be taken from funding in the district, which has raised fears the severe Government cost-cutting – part of a new national schools funding formula – will stretch educational resources to the limit.

One of the hardest hit across the county is set to be Lillington Primary, which has some 245 pupils and will lose the equivalent of five teachers – or a £771 funding cut per pupil.

Diana Taulbut, Labour candidate for North Leamington in the county elections, said: “I am deeply concerned by reports that changes to the Government’s national funding formula combined with notable increases in projected costs are going to affect local schools, including Lillington Primary School which will suffer one of the highest percentage funding losses in the county.

“Changes to the funding formula were supposed to equalise funding between urban and rural areas to the benefit of all pupils. “Some schools will certainly receive more money, but it seems that even most if not all of these will suffer due to rising costs and by having to pay for services formerly provided by the local authorities and the Apprentice Levy.

“Schools whose funding is cut are facing a double whammy. Governors have a legal obligation to balance the books which means cutting back before school finances get into the red.”

The Warwickshire branch of the National Union of Teachers has warned the cuts will equal larger class sizes, fewer teaching assistants, fewer textbooks and other resources.

There are also concerns children with special educational needs will have their support cut.

Chris White, who will be fighting to regain the Warwick and Leamington seat for the Conservatives at next month’s general Election, echoed the worries, and said he was pressing for a revision of local cuts.

He told the Observer: “I have been contacted by a number of parents and teachers and share their valid concerns about school funding. As such, I have visited local schools recently to better understand the scale of the challenges they face.

“I have escalated these concerns to the Prime Minister, the Education Secretary and the Schools Minister. I have pressed for the proposed funding settlement for our local area to be revised.”

* CONCERNED parents and teachers will be hosting an Education Question Time event at Leamington Town Hall.

Candidates standing in the Warwick and Leamington seat have been invited to the event on Monday May 22, starting at 7pm.

It will give constituents the chance to ask questions about local education issues.

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