Education Funding – ‘The Worth Less?’ campaign
Principal Mr. Davis has written a letter to all parents/carers as part of the 'Worth Less?' Campaign
As many of you will have seen from recent national news reports, including today, many schools are facing very difficult times in terms of making cuts to balance their budget. To this end all head teachers across Devon, alongside teaching unions, are doing all they can to raise awareness of this important issue through the ‘Worth Less?’ campaign.
Whilst the size of our College protects us from the worst of these cuts and allows us still to provide a very broad curriculum offer at both GCSE and Post-16, alongside smaller class sizes for many students and experiences such as a wide range of extra-curricular activities including our fantastic activities week, even our College is now having to consider alternative methods of raising funds to ensure that we can continue to provide this level of opportunity.
To put the budget reductions into context, a recent headline in the educational publication SecEd stated that schools nationally had received budget cuts of 8% across the 11-16 part of the school and 20% to Post-16 over the past decade. As a College we take our financial responsibilities very seriously and I work closely with our Director of Finance & Resources to review all budget lines, renegotiate all contracts, reduce contracts that we can no longer afford and implemented a vacancy freeze on all non-frontline posts; all of this in order to make savings where possible to avoid unnecessary reductions to frontline staffing.
Against this there are a wide range of additional demands on our budget which are often only partly funded by Government, or sometimes not funded at all, such as
* Increases in employer’s national insurance and pension contributions (for both support and teaching staff).
* The cost of annual pay awards for teaching and support staff, however minimal those increases have been for many staff.
* Cuts to the education services grant.
* National implementation of the apprenticeship levy which means schools will have to pay an extra 0.5% levy on their payroll costs which equates to over £24,000.
* Introduction of the national living wage.
* Delay in the implementation of the national funding formula which means Devon remains £304 per pupil worse off than the national average which in real terms means we receive £689,776 per annum less than the national average.
I think it is important to know that we have worked really hard to ensure that the cuts have had the least possible impact on teaching and learning. However, a continuation of rising costs and frozen budgets means that we have to make some really difficult decisions. I know that many schools, particularly Primary Schools, have very active PTAs who work hard to raise additional money each year for their school. However, I am also aware that often the burden of these activities falls on a few parents and that, at times, all the parents feel that they are constantly being asked to find money/support activities etc throughout the year.
Headteacher colleagues and I, feel very fortunate that we have been so strongly supported by parents and carers as we campaign for a much improved level of funding for our schools and pupils. We urge you to continue to make representations to your local MP and to the Department for Education and wider Government to ensure that matters improve.
However if you would like to make a contribution can you please do so via your sQUID account. If you do not have access to sQUID or are a member of our wider community who would like to support us then please ring 01395 255754 if you wish to pay be debit or credit card.
Your support will make a huge impact.
Exmouth Community College