Cambridgeshire's schools are 'on the edge of a cliff' because the education authority is among worst funded in country
Subjects are being withdrawn and there are concerns pupils with special needs will suffer most
Curiculums are being narrowed and vocational subjects withdrawn because Cambridgeshire’s education authority is one of the worst funded in England, councillors heard.
There are fears children with special educational needs could suffer the most.
According to Cambridgeshire County Council’s schools forum, the county receives £400 less per child than the average funded authority and £1,600 less per child than Westminster.
The Cambridgeshire’s Schools Forum which met on Friday (July 6) is calling on the Secretary of State for Education to increase funding for all the county’s early years, primary and secondary schools.
Parents, students, school staff and others who care about schools are asked to show their support by signing a Government petition at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/211156.
If 10,000 people sign it, the Government will be forced to consider the petition.
The lack of funding - highlighted by schools and campaigners for years - is affecting some schools’ ability to offer wide and varied curricula, which could have a particular impact on children with special needs.
Dr Alan Rodger, vice chairman of the schools forum, said: “We have plenty of evidence of curriculum narrowing in secondary schools. It is often some of the more vocational subjects that are being withdrawn.
“The challenge there is that some people with special educational needs would do better with more vocational training. We are not able to deliver the ideal curriculum for every child.
“Things like art and music and other subjects where some of the children might do better, are going to be impacted. The focus is more on maths and English, which is good, but we need to do the best for everyone.”
Lucie Calow, headteacher of the Granta Special School in Linton, said there was no need for parents to worry, and stressed that schools were not in crisis, but said now was definitely the time to act to avoid a “cliff edge” scenario.
“This is the moment we are saying we need more help,” said Mrs Calow. “It is not unmanageable, and we are not in crisis, but we can see the edge of the cliff. Now is the moment.”
Philip Hodgson, chair of the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum said: “The impact of this funding shortfall is being felt by the county’s children who are faced with larger class sizes and a narrowing of the curriculum
“The outcomes for children in vulnerable groups are among the worst in England and the county is below average for social mobility with Fenland in the bottom 10 per cent.”
Jon Lewis, service director for education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: “Cambridgeshire County Council fully endorses the Schools Forum’s call for increased funding for Cambridgeshire’s schools.
“As part of the f40 campaign we are also working together with the 42 other lowest-funded education authorities to put forward a new fair model for distributing education funding in England.
More by this authorJosh Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter