£17m budget cuts will hit pupils hard

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ROTHERHAM’S secondary schools are facing some of the biggest funding cuts in the country, according to an analysis by a respected national think tank.

The budget for the borough’s high schools could be cut by more than £17million by 2014-15, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

In the primary sector the IFS estimates schools will receive between £3.2m and £4.7m less.

But the picture is much bleaker for secondaries who are expected to receive between £11m and £12.5m less.

The IFS warns it means Rotherham is facing one of the largest funding cuts for secondary schools in the country.

Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron said: “The findings of the IFS are deeply worrying. Given that Rotherham is still in the highest 20 per cent of deprived areas in this country, what has happened to the concept of ‘we’re all in it together’?”

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey added: “Rotherham secondary schools are set to lose out by £12m in an area where we already have high and rising deprivation. This is simply wrong.

“Rotherham is set to be the biggest loser under these plans but we’re facing big and increasing problems and challenges.

“These cuts will have a significant impact on our young people.”

Mr Barron said Rotherham was also facing reduced funding to Sure Start centres, lost grants for teenagers from the Education Maintenance Allowance and he said money was being siphoned off to fund free schools.

“They’re stacking the odds against young people in Rotherham when it’s their job to do everything possible to help them.”

Education secretary Michael Gove said Rotherham would benefit from the pupil premium - a £2.5 billion fund which will see schools given money for every pupil who qualifies for free school meals.

And he said the IFS was speculating about the size of the funding cut.

The IFS reports says Buckinghamshire and Surrey are among those standing to gain the most with over 10 per cent increases.

Rotherham Council deputy leader Coun Jahangir Akhtar said: “This report reflects our serious concerns about the negative impact such changes would have on the education of young people in Rotherham.