Schools across the north east are facing a funding crisis which threatens their very existence.
Heads and teachers have been complaining about deepening problems with funding shortages, with warnings they might have to cut school hours.
Nationwide almost 1,000 local authority schools and more than 100 academy trusts are now in debt, ministers have revealed.
These are Tory cuts imposed on local Labour councils whilst the Tories are claiming to be looking out for working people.
Across Northumberland a number of schools chose the academy route to try to protect themselves from national cuts. Taking the decision to leave their local authority was hard, but during the last Labour government and the Coalition years the benefit of change went in favour of outsourcing down the academy route.
Now they, too, are facing hard times. Some of the poorest wards will lose 15 per cent of their total budget.
In Blyth, Bede Academy is facing cuts totalling £479,000 by 2020. That’s £313 per pupil, or the cost of 12 teachers. Malvin’s Close primary is facing £227,000 in cuts, £664 per pupil, or seven teachers, while Croftway primary stands to lose £222,000, £558 per pupil, or five teachers. The list goes on.
Northumberland Labour group is launching an investigation into how schools will deliver decent results in the face of ever-diminishing budgets and disappearing staff numbers.
The National Association of Head Teachers said problems with school funding were “very serious”. A survey showed that two-thirds of schools were “dipping into reserves to stave off deficits”.
School budgets are being cut to the bone, and many more could find themselves in debt as the crisis worsens. The union estimates that 92 per cent of schools in England could face real terms budget cuts over the next four years.
It’s time to stand up and fight for our schools.