Our education correspondent, GENE BRODIE, on the startling findings of research into the impact of continuing Tory austerity on schools in Croydon, where teachers pay out of their own pockets for text books and glue sticks
Croydon’s state schools are trying to provide education to the borough’s children with annual budgets that have been slashed by £15.3million in just four years.
That’s the startling conclusion from research conducted by the national teachers’ union, and which has created what one teacher has described as “an intolerable situation”.
Each of Croydon’s 110 primaries, secondaries and academies are having to make do with, on average, £154,178 per year less in their budget than they had in 2015, according to National Education Union figures.
And that’s before any allowances are made for inflation, for increased teacher salaries, or the increasing pension commitments which have to be found out of each school’s budget.
The Tory Government’s on-going austerity cuts to education spending in Croydon are seeing teachers having to pay out of their own pockets for the sort of equipment which would usually be paid for by the school, including text books.
In budget figures compiled by the NEU, comparing funding in 2015 to today, there are some massive reductions in the amounts some headteachers and their staff have available to spend over the school year.
At one school, Applegarth Academy in New Addington, they now receive £770 less per pupil than they did in 2015.
Three Harris Academy schools in the borough have between them had more than £1.5million axed from their annual budgets, compared to 2015.
Among some of the biggest funding losers (showing the amount the school’s annual budget has been reduced since 2015) are:
Oasis Shirley Park: £671,455
Harris City Academy, Crystal Palace: £628,681
West Thornton Primary: £553,812
Quest Academy: £340,418
Heavers Farm Primary: £342,591
Aerodrome Primary: £292,244
Norbury Manor Primary: £216,433
In total, Croydon’s state schools are receiving £15,263,579 less than they did in 2014-2015.
To see how the schools in your neighbourhood have been affected, visit the School Cuts website www.schoolcuts.co.uk.
The School Cuts Coalition national analysis of the latest Government school funding figures shows a shortfall in funding £5.4billion over the past three years with 91 per cent of schools in England affected.
“This is an intolerable situation,” said Joe Flynn, the secretary of Croydon NEU.
“Children and young people are being short-changed by a Government that believes their education can be run on a shoestring budget.
“As a result of the Government’s absolute refusal to accept the fact that a school funding crisis exists, school class sizes are increasing, teachers and support staff are being reduced, building repairs are being left undone, subjects are being dropped from the curriculum and teachers are having to pay out of their own pocket for items such as text books and glue sticks.”
And Flynn added, “This situation cannot go on. There needs to be a reversal of cuts to school budgets since 2010, and for the funding of schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision to be of a level that ensures all children and young people get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live.”
Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, conducted a survey in 2017 which showed that 92 per cent of schools in the borough had already been forced to make staff cuts because of inadequate budgets. Since then, the situation appears to have got even worse.
Today, Jones told Inside Croydon: “The harsh reality of school cuts continue to bite here in Croydon. These latest figures confirm what parents and teachers have been saying loud and clear: almost all our schools are worse off compared to 2015 and our children’s education is suffering.
“Our schools are on the front line of a whole host of issues, from knife crime to mental health. But with teacher numbers falling and cuts to special needs support, things are only going to get worse.
“It’s essential that the Government reverses their cuts to schools in the spending review this summer.”
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