The letter about school funding fears which Norfolk headteachers have sent home to parents


Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: EDP, Archant

Heads of hundreds of the county's primary and secondary schools have warned of an 'imminent' crisis, in hard-hitting letters sent to parents and carers. Here is the letter in full:

Dear Parents and Carers,

You will probably have read and heard about changes to the funding of schools in England.

We are writing to you today because we are gravely concerned about the impact of the new funding formula on our school, and the general welfare of our children, young people and families.

MORE: 'Speech and language therapy and mental health support could be cut': Norfolk heads warn parents of classroom cash crisis

The government is seeking to promote a funding formula across the country and, as with any change, there are winners and losers.

The government has said that the proposed funding formula will mean an increase in funding for schools. In reality, many schools are facing real terms funding cuts because the costs associated with running a school have increased – increases in National Insurance and pension contributions and rising inflation, for instance. Coupled with other significant changes - the government's reduction in the education service grant, used by the local authority for school improvement and to plan for school places, for example, and the introduction of an apprenticeship levy that will all impact on nearly all schools and academies – a budget crisis is imminent.

And then, of course, as part of last week's budget announcement, we were told of the government's plans to spend precious financial resources in pursuing its selective education agenda rather than ensuring schools working in the here and now are properly funded.

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These changes and the increased living costs mean that in actual fact we will have less money to spend on running schools and funding additional services, such as speech and language therapy, mental health support, counselling and support services that have become an increasingly valued and necessary provision in the communities we serve.

Decisions on school spending will no longer be driven by what is best for our children, young people and families but rather what we can afford, and are legally required to provide.

As you may have heard, some schools in other parts of the country are asking for parents to contribute money each month to its running costs, others are considering reducing the school week to four days so they reduce their costs. Some schools may be forced to cut teaching jobs, teaching assistants and support staff, increase class sizes or reduce how much they spend on books or IT equipment.

Where should the cuts be made to balance the budget? Of course the deficit will mean different things in each school but is likely to impact on your child's education. Norfolk Primary Headteachers' Association and Norfolk Secondary Education Leaders have met with Norfolk's MPs to discuss the issues and concerns around school funding, and MPs are keen to hear about the impact on schools in their constituencies as well as the views of people living in their communities.

An education system must support and inspire its students, and offer every child and young person the opportunity to learn and be the best they can be…but this system needs greater investment.

The text of this letter has been agreed by NSEL and NPHA, and will be sent by many schools across the county to parents and carers such as yourselves to highlight the national situation. Its intent is to inform you of the national picture and to enlist your support in petitioning our MP for support.

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