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School funding - letter from Ms Kirby

posted 5 Mar 2017, 08:50 by Michele Colt
Dear Parents and Carers,

Newspapers and the television have for some months now been reporting on the very significant issues in school funding which are having - and will continue to have - a great impact on most schools in the country, and more so those in large towns like London.

I would like to explain the national picture and then show how this affects Kingsley Academy (although the same will be true of almost every school in Hounslow). I need to make clear that these changes are due to failure of government to increase the national education budget, so it is at least in line with inflation, despite overwhelming evidence of the detrimental effect this will have on our children’s schools (the great majority of Headteachers are reported to agree that this is so). Here are some of the funding issues that  schools nationally are facing:

  • Schools have had to pay cost of living pay increases, increased National Insurance and employers’ pension contributions without any increase in funding to do so. For a school of about 1,000 students (Kingsley has 800), the cost is equivalent to about 8 teachers’ salaries, including employer costs.
  • 6th form funding in schools has been cut by about 20% to bring it in line with colleges, who historically had less money than schools for post-16.
  • Schools, who do not generally employ apprentices, are having to contribute to the government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which will take more money from our budget, for very little return for us.
  • The government has also removed the Educational Services Grant to Local Authorities, a grant which helped pay for services we all used, such as special needs and school improvement. This means schools will have to find funds to pay for these services externally.
  • 98% of schools will have their per-pupil funding cut if the government goes ahead with its proposals under the so-called ‘Fair Funding Formula’ which will mean further reductions to schools such as ours. In order to address under-funding in some parts of the country, the government will take the same sum it currently allocates but will divide it up differently with the result that nearly all London schools will lose a further, substantial, amount. A number of MPs from all parties are now increasingly concerned about how the cuts will impact on their own constituencies. 
What does this mean for schools? Here is what is already happening around the country:
  • School posts are being left unfilled when people leave; teachers; support staff; administrative staff
  • Voluntary or compulsory redundancies 
  • Class sizes are increasing - over 30 per class is not uncommon
  • The curriculum offers are being reduced 
  • Schools are allocating far less money to buy books and other resources
  • Equipment is not being replaced
All the above apply, regretfully, to Kingsley Academy:
  • We are making a number of staff redundant, both teachers and support staff. 
  • Class sizes will be on average at  25- 30, going up to as many as 32. 
  • Although we are keeping  a wide range of options offered at Key Stages 4 & 5, we will be obliged to run only those with high numbers opting for them
  • Departments are increasingly relying on the internet and other free resources to avoid buying more than one set of text books per year group; students are therefore not allowed to take books home. 
  • Our new build includes only a small amount for new equipment and facilities; much of the furniture and ICT, therefore, will be moved from the old building to the new. 
We would strongly encourage parents and carers to make known your views both to your local MP (Seema Malhotra and Ruth Cadbury in Hounslow; see below for contact details) both of whom support schools being given enough money to run an effective service) and to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP - see below for contact details. The more letters received, the more noise our MPs can make and the more likely it is that Ministers will listen.  This link will take you to a national website where you can email your MP: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#/

I am sure you will agree with me that this is hugely important because it is our children’s futures at stake. Please do take the time to contact the people above to try and secure adequate funding for Kingsley Academy and other schools.

I will finish with an extract  from a letter in the Guardian newspaper to the government: 

“It is surprising but prescient that you have not included education in your round-up of the challenges facing the public sector. With the increasing privatisation through academies and free schools and the siphoning of public money into corporations via multi-academy trusts, sadly – and appallingly – this omission makes sense. And children are the losers.”

Yours faithfully,

Lesley Kirby, Principal Kingsley Academy

Contact details:
Ruth Cadbury: Email: ruth.cadbury.mp@parliament.uk
Seema Malhotra: Email: seema.malhotra.mp@parliament.uk 
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education: greeningj@parliament.uk

or write to all three at: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA


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