Survey paints ‘bleak’ picture of Norfolk school cuts
Many Norfolk schools are cutting budgets and laying off staff to cope with a cash squeeze, a 'bleak' survey has found.
Norfolk Governors' Network (NGN) said government claims that no schools would see reduced funding were incorrect - and said there was 'real pain' that was already having a 'direct effect' on children's education.
The organisation received more than 50 responses to its annual survey of governing bodies, with 57pc reporting a reduced budget this year.
One in five said they would be reducing teaching numbers, one in three said they would cut support staff, while 36pc were planning to buy in fewer services to reduce their expenditure.
NGN said the findings fitted in with warnings from Norfolk County Council last year, that schools faced reduced overall budgets.
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A spokesman said: 'NGN firmly believes that the council has done a good job of forewarning schools of the impacts of central government cuts but this survey shows that those cuts are now starting to have a real effect on schools and it is likely that these will continue or get worse in future years.'
The survey also found that many schools were coping this year by eating into surpluses they had built up in previous years - raising the prospect of a reduced cushion in future years.
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The spokesman said: 'This validates the council's decision to allow schools to carry over funds but also indicates that future years will very likely bring further budget pressure as surpluses decline.'
Stephen Adamson, chairman of NGN, said: 'While the statement from the Department for Education is true in terms of cash per pupil, it doesn't recognise that many other budgets that affect schools are being cut drastically.
'For example, budgets for maintaining buildings have been cut by 70pc. Schools used to get additional funds if they had a specialism but that has now gone completely.
'And services that they used to get free are now having to be paid for. The overall picture is far bleaker for Norfolk schools that the DfE is describing.'
He added: 'This situation gives governors across the county very difficult decisions to take.'
? NGN is holding a free conference for all governors in Norfolk on June 11, giving advice on how governors can raise school standards despite government cuts and other changes. To sign up, visit www.ngn.org.uk.