Schools in Lancaster and Morecambe face cash crisis, warn teaching unions

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Teaching unions in Lancashire have warned that freezing education budgets will have major effects on schools in the Lancaster district.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) say that teaching conditions are worsening and pupil numbers are rising and have asked for education funding to be protected.

Coun Matthew Tomlinson

Coun Matthew Tomlinson

The two unions’ report estimates frozen yearly budgets will equate to cuts worth around £65m in Lancashire, and called for more cash to be pumped in to education before teachers are laid off. Union leaders have predicted that secondary schools in the Lancaster district will lose around £2m in funding by 2020, which is the equivalent of around 50 teachers.

Primary Schools will also be signifantly affected, according to the report.

Labour County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, responsible for schools run by the county council, said: “With the current government’s track record, it’s hard to believe the new funding will mean there’s extra money for schools, but until the details come out it’s difficult to comment.

“But I recognise lots of schools are very nervous about the changes that are coming.”

Matt Auger, head teacher at Morecambe Community High School.

Matt Auger, head teacher at Morecambe Community High School.

The government had planned to introduce its new ‘national funding formula’, which it said would end historic disparity between authorities, next year, but recently pushed it back to 2018/19.

Until then, schools will still be funded through a local formula set by their local authority, though education secretary Justine Greening told councils they won’t see funding reduced next year.

The county council currently keeps back some of its government funding to help smaller schools who have a particularly small intake, which reduces funding given for ‘bums on seats’.

The changes would put an end to that, and would simply be the ‘redistribution of an inadequately sized cake’, according to the NUT’s regional secretary for the north west, Peter Middleman.

Sam Ud-din

Sam Ud-din

But Department for Education spokesman said: “The NUT and ATL’s report would appear to be irresponsible scaremongering, based on figures that are entirely speculative. In reality the schools budget has been protected and in 2016-17 totals over £40bn, the highest ever on record.

“The government’s fairer funding proposals will ensure that areas with the highest need attract the most funding and end the historic unfairness in the system.”

Type in your postcode at schoolcuts.org.uk to see how your school may be affected.

Photo Neil Cross Parents have taken their children out of school in protest at new SATs and forced academies meeting at  Ashton Memorial, Lancaster

Photo Neil Cross Parents have taken their children out of school in protest at new SATs and forced academies meeting at Ashton Memorial, Lancaster