Banbury and Bicester schools will be hit hard by what the Institute for Fiscal Studies says are the first real cuts in funding per pupil since the mid-1990s. No wonder Mrs May is pulling a sour face on her visit to a primary school in Bootle recently.
IFS calculates that spending per pupil will fall by 6.5% in real terms over the next 2 years. Emma Knight, Chief Executive of the National Governor’s Association said on Radio 4’s Today programme that “The Department for Education unfortunately doesn’t know how much it costs to educate a pupil whether it be a primary or secondary pupil. What [the IFS analysis is] really showing us is the cake simply isn’t big enough to educate all the pupils that we have across the country”
And this comes after the National Audit Office criticised the Government for spending billions on its pet ‘free schools’ (a contradiction in terms if we ever saw one) and potentially hundreds of millions on reintroducing Grammar schools.
Head teacher Mary Sandell of Forest School in Winnersh, Berkshire, said she was quitting because she no longer felt able to the job properly; she said: “I’m leaving something I love because quite simply there is not enough money to do the job properly. She said that under current funding levels her school “cannot replace equipment, we cannot improve the buildings, we can’t even afford textbooks for new specifications. I’ve been in education since 1980 and it’s the worst it’s ever been from my perspective.” We doubt she will be the only one.
So how will this affect Banbury and Bicester Schools? Things don’t look good. According to schoolcuts.org.uk. 98% of schools will face real terms cuts in spending per pupil and Banbury and Bicester Schools look likely to suffer along with the rest of the country.
Based on their calculations, Bicester Schools will lose nearly £1.6M based on cuts to pupil funding.
The result of this loss is equivalent to losing 38 teachers across all our schools, at a time when the town is expanding rapidly and pupil places are already under severe pressure.
Banbury schools will fare no better. With a total of just under £2M of cuts to pupil funding, Banbury schools face losing the equivalent of 49 teachers by 2019.
Like Bicester, Banbury is experiencing rapid growth in population and the education infrastructure is going to be under immense strain.
For both towns, larger class sizes seem inevitable under Government plans.
IFS estimates that overall, primary schools could see an increase of 2.1 pupils per class and secondary schools 3 per class. This would push class sizes to over 23 in secondary and just under the 30 limit in primary schools. It seems that the children of Banbury and Bicester will be short-changed by a Government determined to reduce the quality of public services to a point where they can finally privatise the lot.
To have your say and have a look at how it affects your local school, go to www.schoolcuts.org.uk and type in your postcode. You can sign the petition and email your MP from the website. It’s time to look after our children and make sure we get the funding they need for their education. They are the future after all.