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This unnecessary and unfounded distraction to ‘academise’ all schools is irresponsible and reckless - Lucy Powell

New independent analysis reveals schools must find £7.5 billion of savings over the Parliament, as school budgets face the first real terms cut since mid-1990s

·         New analysis by the House of Commons Library reveals that over the course of this Parliament schools will need to make £7.5 billion of savings. School budgets now face real terms cuts for the first time since the mid-1990s.
·         To cope with this cut, school leaders will have little choice but to make staff redundancies, increase the number of pupils per teacher and cut back on courses offered and extra-curricular activities. Examples of how schools are already trying to cope include:
o   St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School and Sixth Form College in Wakefield, which has said to meet the required savings it could axe up to 23 members of staff.
o   North Kesteven School, an academy in Lincolnshire, which recently announced plans to make a number of posts at the school redundant.
o   St John the Baptist Primary in Leicester, which recently told parents that the school would be reducing teaching and support staff numbers.
o   Highbury Grove School in Islington, which is consulting on cutting support staff jobs.
o   John O’Gaunt School in West Berkshire, which has seen significant staffing reductions and the closure of a sixth form. The Tory-led council has blamed the Government for making it harder for schools to balance their budgets as costs rise.
o   Halewood academy in Knowsley, which has announced plans to close its sixth form, bringing an end to any A-level provision in the borough, as a result of financial cutbacks.
·         According to a recent survey, two-thirds of school leaders say they will not be able to balance their books in four years’ time.
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:
“Whilst the Tories try to pretend that they are protecting school budgets, parents and school leaders are finding out that the reality does not match the rhetoric. Many parents will be extremely worried to learn that over the course of the Parliament schools will be forced to reduce teacher numbers, extra-curricular activities and the courses they offer, risking the quality of education that children should receive.
“At the same time, this Government’s costly reorganisation to force every school to become an academy, will remove even more money, time and effort away from where the focus in schools should be – on raising standards. With such financial challenges facing education under the Tories, this unnecessary and unfounded distraction to ‘academise’ all schools is irresponsible and reckless, and can only harm standards in our schools.”

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