Headteachers 'horrified' by Government's school funding plans


IF SCHOOL funding cuts set out by the Government go ahead it could lead to children being taught by unqualified teachers in classrooms that go without basic repairs and furniture, according to a primary head teacher.
The town is already the 10th worst funded area in the country for education and under the government’s new plans, the situation would become even worse for most schools.
Almost a quarter of a million pounds will be wiped off head teacher’s budgets when the changes come into force in April 2018.
And Craig Burgess, head teacher at Woolston Community Primary School, said ultimately the funding crisis could lead to school closures.
“What’s scary is that things are going to get worse,” he said.
“Single form entry schools, like community and village schools, won’t survive. 
“We are full but financially it will still be a struggle.”
Under the new formula, like-for-like schools in the highest funded areas will receive £565,401 more than Warrington schools like Woolston Primary.
Mr Burgess said head teachers were bitterly disappointed after the government promised a fairer funding formula.
He added: “We thought the national formula would be the answer to our prayers. But we have been shocked and horrified by the latest plans.
“We can’t understand the reasoning behind it. Teaching assistants are already a luxury at some schools. 
“There is not enough money to paint classrooms when they are looking tatty.”
Warrington primary schools are currently some of the best in the country despite being among the worst funded.
They ranked 20th best for this year’s national SATs league tables which rates how children are performing in their year six exams.
Mr Burgess, the former head teacher of Appleton Thorn Primary School, admitted that being successful could mean the government thinks Warrington schools can manage on meagre funds.
But he expects to see grades drop and exclusion rates rise in the next few years if head teachers cannot make ends meet.
The dad-of-two added: “Children in Warrington are getting a raw deal. 
“Why is it that just because my children live in Warrington, they are not going to get the same educational opportunities?”
He suggested the only schools which could thrive under the new formula are very large schools with thousands of pupils, akin to the types of schools found in Asia.
“Is that the educational system this government wants for these children?” he asked.
“I don’t think it’s what parents want. 
“You are not going to know those children as individuals. 
“Everything that is great about British education will start to go.”
Last week the council started a campaign to encourage parents and carers to lobby the Government over the funding problems which exist.
Every parent and carer across the town was sent a letter asking them to protest against the plans.
Cllr Jean Carter, Warrington Borough Council's executive board member for children’s services, said the new proposals will hit Warrington harder.
She said: “What the government has done is replace one postcode lottery with another. And rather than Warrington schools being rewarded for doing well, despite already receiving less than average funding, they are being penalised even more.
Have your say on the government’s consultation into school funding by March 22 and find out more by visiting www.warrington.gov.uk/schoolcuts.

Originally published on the Warrington Guardian website (23rd February 2017) at http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/15105099.Head_teachers__horrified__by_Government_s_school_funding_plans/