CategorySchool Funding

Schools budgets feeling the squeeze

Nearly 33% of local authority of schools in the UK cannot cover their daily running costs a study suggests.

This is a fourfold increase in the amount of schools in that position in the last four years according to The Education Policy Institute.

Nearly half a million pounds to the average debt of such schools but the Department of Education states that across all school types nearly 90% of schools are in surplus.

David Laws, chairman of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said the latest school budget figures, for the term of 2017 to 18, showed a “marked deterioration”.

‘Financial Squeeze’

Geoff Barton the Head teachers’ leader said the study showed funding levels were “not realistic” and many education institutions  were now facing a “financial cliff edge”.

Mr Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, warned that without much more funding for schools things will just get worse and worse.

Secondary schools present their own unique problems according to the EPI with about a tenth of  local authority secondary schools having budget deficits  of more than 10% of their income.

The government should first ensure they  support schools facing such “excessive” funding difficulties before allocating funds to schools in surplus.

The think tank says it is difficult to establish directly comparable figures for individual academies that are part of multi-academy trusts but 50% of secondary academies have in-year deficits.

The report also highlights the unevenness of funding levels.

All is not bad news, there is many schools running a surplus totaling a whopping 1.8 billion pounds that includes believe it or believe it not 250 million that has not been allocated for expenditure.

Sliding into debt

But the National Education Union says that funding is not keeping pace with rising cost pressures – and that since 2015 the school system has 326,000 more pupils.

They have complained of so called   voluntary contributions  from parents been used to fill the gaps.

They  charge the Department for Education and the Treasury of  sloganeering while schools were drowning in debt.

To add insult to injury schools deep in dept are been asked to provide more and more services in relation to  special needs etc in their schools.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner has tried to hold the Government to account in Parliament but Brexit has made progress on any of these issues impossible

 

NI Schools feeling the pain due to No government in Stormont

Northern Ireland has been without government for nearly 2 years now. While on the outside things appear to be moving along as normal under the hood the stains are starting to show.

One headmaster has reported that families already cash strapped are having to find hundreds of pounds to plug funding gaps so school supplied can be purchased.

These contributions are called “voluntary” but they are anything but voluntary. They are essential contributions and parents are put under pressure make these voluntary contributions.

Stormont has been mothballed since Martin McGuiness pulled the plug on the power sharing arrangement with the DUP when funding for Irish language training was withdraw.  An agreement was nearly reached between SF and the DUP to get Stormont up and running again but again it foundered on the issue of the Irish Language.

The impasse has created a decision-making logjam – and now parents are buying around £60 worth of supplies per school child every month to plug an education funding gap, a principal has said.

The president of the  National Association of Head Teachers in Northern Ireland Geri Cameron said: “It is totally unsatisfactory, parents have had a very strong voice in telling us that it is not sustainable.”

Schools budgets  has reduced by about 10 per cent in real terms over the past 6 years. “Schools are now at crisis point,” Ms Cameron added.

Charlene Brooks, chief executive of Parenting NI, a family support organisation, added that families were expected to buy extra items like stationary and contribute to the cost of particular lessons.

She said: “Parents have made it very clear that this has had an unwanted additional financial and emotional strain. They talk about a voluntary contribution but if one parent does not make it does that mean that their child is left out of a lesson and is more vulnerable to being picked on?

“Does that mean that that child stands out from the group? There appear to be much greater expectations on parents to pay towards things that they would not have to in the past.

Schools are not the only thing effected by the Stormont shutdown.  Loads  of pubs have also shut due to unreformed red tape and taxation. Critical road building projects and Casement GAA Ground development  have  also been delayed following the power-sharing collapse at Stormont.

The region currently holds the world record for the longest period without a sitting government, which it passed after 589 days.

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