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Fulbourn Primary School 'disappointed' with government's stance on hours cut

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Fulbourn Primary School will close early once a week in a bid to save money. Classes will finish at 1.30pm rather than 3.30pm on Wednesdays from September.

Fulbourn Primary School 'disappointed' with government's stance on hours cut (12764573)
Fulbourn Primary School 'disappointed' with government's stance on hours cut (12764573)

The Department for Education said the move was “unacceptable”, adding Cambridgeshire’s funding had increased by 3.5 per cent per pupil from 2017-18 – the equivalent of £20.1m – which is above the national average of 3.2 per cent.

But Cambridgeshire remains one of the worst funded education authorities in England and education authority, Cambridgeshire County Council, has long campaigned for a better deal. The school said the move would reduce its predicted deficit from £260,000 to £140,000 by 2022.

Writing for the Cambridge Independent, Frances Parris, co-chair of the Parents, Teachers and Friends Association, who has two children, aged five and seven, at the school, explains the school’s position.

I am disappointed with the ongoing stance from the government. What it is saying about increases in funding for schools, including to our region, is misleading. You only have to look at fullfact.org/education/school-spending-figures-misleading to read the IFS calculation that spending per pupil in England fell by 8 per cent in real terms from 2009/10 to 2017/18. The website also says that claims of increases in schools funding do not take into account increases in pupil numbers.

Schools now have costs that they did not have to pay before, such as the apprenticeship levy. One of our governors, David Boyd, has spoken about how the squeeze on other public services, such as social care, special educational needs and children’s mental health, has an impact on schools, which take up these additional responsibilities to support children and families.

We are asking for fairer funding.

Cambridgeshire has always been one of the poorest funded local authorities. The government does not seem to understand that the cost of living in the Cambridge area is exceptionally high and schools are struggling to pay for decent teachers, because teachers cannot afford to live here. The number of applications for teaching posts that local schools receive has been falling and schools have to use huge amounts of their budget to attract and keep the best teachers.

We are a state school. This is simply not fair. We are one of the success stories in the region – we are extremely lucky to have a strong community spirit that helps us with our fundraising effort. We set up a JustGiving page and online wish lists for parents to pay for resources directly into their child’s class.

Our children will be shaping the future of our economy in 20 years’ time; they will be the next doctors, engineers and scientists, so why isn’t the government investing in them?

We want to see the government address its funding policies to better support our schools and the children it is meant to represent.

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