Heads up in arms as Enfield schools face 'serious' cuts

By Adrian Colley in Community News

Headteachers are rebelling over ’serious’ cuts to funding in education.

One leading Enfield head says schooling is in ’crisis’ with big reductions in spending beginning to bite.

Enfield Secondary Headteachers’ Association fear £3bn worth of cuts to education across England will damage pupils’ development.

Eighteen of them have signed a letter that is being sent to parents outlining their concerns.

Bruce Goddard, headmaster at 1,500-pupil Highlands School, in Worlds End Lane, said: “Our current crisis is as a result of government decisions on funding over the last three years which have the full impact in 2017-18.

“The government has NOT protected schools core funding, as it claims. It has provided us with broadly the same level of cash, but from that taken back increased amounts in employers’ National Insurance, employers’ pension contributions, and the apprenticeship levy, and given all staff a 1% increase in their pay each year without giving us any extra to meet that pay increase.

“Therefore we now have FAR less to spend on our pupils. In a large secondary school like mine that means that in the coming year I have well over half a million pounds less to spend on my pupils compared to three years ago.”

“I have been working in education for 40 years, 16 as a headteacher, and cannot remember a more challenging time for our schools.”

A report last year by the National Audit Office say the schools budget in England faced a £3bn cut over the next four years.

In their letter the 18 Enfield headteachers say: “We are doing this … as we view the situation facing schools to be so serious.

“Enfield secondary schools, compared to other areas, achieve very good results. Ofsted recognises this fact - there are more good and outstanding secondary schools than in other similar authorities.”

The amount spent on pupils has been significantly cut as a result of increased staffing costs.

They add: “Overall there is a 6.9% increase in the cost of running a school. For an average secondary school with a budget of £5,000,000 this is a reduction of almost £350,000.”

The heads say that a reduction in the cash for schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities will also mean a cut in in teaching and support assistants.

The heads have urged parents to write to MPs to complain about the moves.

On Saturday in Edmonton Labour party and NUT activists said they had hundreds of signatures to a petition opposing the cuts and said many parents want to get involved. They set up a stall outside Edmonton Green station and claim that Enfield faces a £21m cut in its education budget.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Enfield council’s cabinet member for schools said: “I have invited headteachers to a meeting to discuss this situation and to increase the pressure we are putting on the government to recognise the level of need in Enfield and to ensure our schools are properly funded.”

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