Headteachers warn jobs could go as Sheffield schools face 'bleak future' in funding shake-up

Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School. Google maps
Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School. Google maps
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Jobs could be cut as schools face a 'bleak future' following changes in funding, headteachers have warned.

Under the new Government funding formula plans more than 60 primary schools in the city face budgets cut, while many secondary schools will see their budgets increased.

Headteacher at Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School, Helen Stokes, said spending at the school had already been cut to the 'bare minimum' and further cuts were 'extremely unjust'.

She said her school is set to lose a further £72,000 in funding over the next five years.

Mrs Stokes said: "The new funding formula poses a threat for us at Waterthorpe, especially being a small school as we will lose a big chunk of our leadership funding.

"We had been hoping that the new formula would bring us more money as we understood that we have been getting less than in many other local authority areas across Britain.

"Unfortunately that will not be the case and we will have a cut of 2.4 per cent, which has been reduced to 1.2 per cent in the first year. This means that, based on our current budget, we would lose £72,000 in funding over the next five years.

"We have already cut our spending to the bare minimum and the largest proportion of our costs are on staffing.

"Over the last few years we have been hit by different government funding changes, such as increased employer pension contributions, and these have had a big impact on our budgets; we have already had to make cuts in response to these. The Apprenticeship Levy has also been introduced this year and this is, in effect, another 'silent' budget cut."

She said the increase in pupil numbers has increased income this year, but the siutation will change when the funding formula comes into operation next year.

She added: "Our only option then will be to reduce the amount of support staff in classrooms. These are the staff that ensure that all our children get the exceptional care and support, with their learning and general well-being, that they need and deserve."

She said staff are already working at maximum capacity, adding: "Further cuts seem extremely unjust and will do nothing to improve our schools."

Cathy Rowland, headteacher at Dobcroft Infant School, in Millhouses, has written to parents warning them the school, like many, faces a 'bleak financial future'.

The school has already reduced hours for teaching assistants and she warned there may have to be further staff cuts.

She has called on parents to lobby their local MPs and write to ministers against the plans.

Mrs Rowland said the new cuts will mean her school has lost 13 per cent in funding between 2013-19.

She wrote: "The future is potentially a bleak choice between making significant reductions in staff or an untenable deficit.

"Our priority is to do the best we can for all your children, despite the pressures we are under. But unless something changes there is a real worry the high standards we pride ourselves on here in Dobcroft Infant school may be at risk.

"The reality is there is just not enough funding to be divided equally across all schools in England. There is a growing crisis in overall education funding, with schools being asked to find savings of £3bn. That is why I have joined other headteachers both locally and nationally, in voicing opposition to these changes through the government’s consultation over the funding formula."