Our school budgets are becoming untenable
23 November, 2017
London Borough of Camden headteachers Open letter to government on schools funding
• THIS letter is sent to you to convey the grave concern that Camden headteachers share, regarding the impact of historic and projected cuts to school funding across the country.
The intention of writing this letter is to draw your attention to the implications of funding cuts for schools and the communities we all serve.
Our deep concerns about the implications of the ongoing reduction in school funding, together with the sustained real-term increases in costs, mean that our school budgets are becoming untenable.
We argue that schools are successful in part due to adequate funding but largely because of teaching expertise and the development of effective school systems through years of hard work.
Across the state education system in Camden, and nationally, children are achieving increasingly high results at each point of their school life.
That has been achieved through close collaboration between schools and high levels of investment in services to deliver a world class education.
To achieve this our schools provide essential support to some of the most vulnerable children and families in the country.
The government’s real terms cuts to funding are taking extraordinary sums from the state education system across England.
We cannot see how we will be able to continue to provide our current level of provision in the future with such drastic cuts to our funding.
Nor can we see how we are going to maintain morale among our dedicated staff if funding is going to be relentlessly cut for the foreseeable future.
Recruitment and retention of teachers in London is already an immense challenge for schools. As school leaders, we are passionate about improving the life chances of the children in our care.
The support and trust of the communities we serve is essential to the success of our schools. Through enforced cuts and the resulting reduction of pastoral services, this trust will undoubtedly be eroded.
Some of the factors schools are having to manage within their budgets are:
● Increased National Insurance contributions.
● Increased pension costs for Local Government Pension Scheme members.
● Forced contribution of 0.5 per cent for the Apprenticeship Levy for maintained and other groups of schools.
● Increased contributions for services previously covered through the Education Services Grant to the local authority.
● Unfunded 2 per cent pay increments.
● Reduction to the Dedicated School Grant of 1.5 per cent each year over the past four years.
● Capped funding for SEND, special educational needs and disability.
● Funding being diverted to free schools in areas where there is already capacity in good or better schools and academies.
The solutions we are having to turn to so that budgets can be set are:
● Reducing staffing levels.
● Restricting curriculum provision.
● Restricting pastoral resources vital for supporting vulnerable children and families.
● Deconstructing successful systems and networks of leadership and partnership working between schools.
● Seeking sponsorship from external sources to provide the basic entitlement for children.
We urge you to give further consideration to the level of funding received by schools across England.
As Camden headteachers, we are proud of our schools and our partnership approach to ensuring the best possible outcomes for all the children in our care. Please ensure that we have the resources to maintain and develop our world class system of state comprehensive education.
We request the opportunity to meet with you, perhaps even for you to visit our schools and meet the children who will directly benefit from improved funding.
JOHN HAYES Gospel Oak Primary and Nursery School; ROB EARREY Fitzjohn’s Primary School; KATHY BANNON Richard Cobden Primary School; GWEN LEE Christopher Hatton School; ALLAN MCLEAN Hampstead Parochial CE Primary School; ADAM YOUNG St George the Martyr CE Primary School; JULES BELTON St Mary and St Pancras School; CLIVE HALE St Paul’s CE Primary School; ROBIN WARREN Primrose Hill Primary School; DON MCGIBBON Fleet Primary School; JEMIMA WADE Argyle Primary School; HELEN CONNOR Rhyl Primary School; SAMANTHA SMITH Beckford Primary School; KATE FROOD Eleanor Palmer School; VIJITA PATEL Swiss Cottage School; JAMES HUMPHRIES Kentish Town CE Primary School; HELEN MCGOVERN St Luke’s CE School; HELEN BRUCKDORFER Torriano Primary; LORRAINE DOLAN Holy Trinity & St Silas School; NICHOLAS JOHN Acland Burghley School; LIZ HAYWARD Kingsgate Primary School; MARK STUBBINGS Brookfield School; KATY FORSDYKE Christ Church Primary School; JACQUES SZEMALIKOWSKI Hampstead School; SAM WHITE William Ellis School; ELIZABETH KITCATT Camden School for Girls; JAMES HADLEY Haverstock School; KARYN RAY New End Primary School; GARY MOORE Regent High School; ISOBEL GAFFNEY Rosary School; EMYR FAIRBURN King’s Cross Academy; KATHRYN FITZSIMMONS Emmanuel CE Primary School; RUBY NASSER Edith Neville Primary School; SARAH CREASEY Parliament Hill School; ANNE FONTAINE Hawley Primary School; PERINA HOLNESS Thomas Coram Centre; LAURA HALL Holy Trinity CE Primary School; JACQUELINE PHELAN Carlton School; JENNIFER O’PREY St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School; HELEN TYLER St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School; MARIANNE PORTER Brecknock Primary School.