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How Cambridgeshire schools will be hit by funding cuts

Head teacher Jodh Dhesi at Parkside Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Head teacher Jodh Dhesi at Parkside Community College. Picture: Keith Heppell

The number of teachers will be cut and class sizes will be bigger under the Government's revised school funding plans, Cambridgeshire headteachers fear.

Heads at many of the county’s schools have told parents of the budget crisis facing them over the next three years.

“This is not scaremongering,” said Parkside Community College headteacher Jodh Dhesi, writing in the Cambridge Independent. “It is not moaning and it is not political.”

Families are being urged to lobby their MP, write to ministers and sign petitions to fight the changes.

“My fellow headteachers and I are setting our budgets now and we simply do not have the projected resources to fund business as usual,” said Mr Dhesi, whose school faces a cut of £323,266 by 2020.

The Department for Education (DfE), which is carrying out a consultation on the changes, says schools are already receiving record levels of funding.

It says that the new formula, which includes a basic per-pupil amount, and factors in pupil characteristics and school and area costs will combat historical regional disparities.

But Cambridgeshire Secondary Schools Head Teachers’ Association says the formula will result in funding cuts to one third of schools – primary and secondary – in the county.

For decades, Cambridgeshire has ranked as receiving the lowest funding per pupil in England, prompting teachers, parents and MPs to lobby for change.

Although 149 schools will see their funding increase, all schools will be worse off in real terms when costs such as National Insurance contributions, pension increases and the apprenticeship levy are taken into account. About 75 schools will see actual cuts in their funding.

Figures released by the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers show the impact of the real-term cuts, with some budgets reduced by more than 15 per cent by 2020.

Comberton Village College and Swavesey Village College face cuts equivalent to 16 teaching posts, while at Chesterton Community College and St Bede’s the reduction is equivalent to 11 teaching posts.

A letter signed by Jonathan Digby, chair of Cambridgeshire Secondary Schools Head Teachers’ Association, has been sent to Education Secretary Justine Greening.

To comment on the consultation, which closes on March 22, visit consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2.

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