Hundreds of teacher jobs at risk according to unions
Hundreds of teachers across Burnley could lose their jobs as schools face up to the increasingly difficult challenge of balancing their books amid drastic funding cuts.
The stark warning came from teaching unions which carried out research into the long-term effects of government cuts in education spending.
The NUT and ATL unions are now preparing a petition against the Government’s proposed “Fair Funding” reforms.
The unions used published Department for Education data to calculate cuts to England’s primary and secondary schools over this Parliament, 2015 to 2020.
According to the data forecasts, Burnley secondary schools could lose as many as 74 teachers.
Sir John Thursby Community College would be the hardest hit, losing £947,852 and 25 teachers.
Unity College would lost 16 yeachers, Blessed Trinity RC College 12, Hameldon Community College 11 and Shuttleworth College 10 teachers.
Blessed Trinity headteacher Mr Richard Varey offered a more optimistic outlook.
He said: “Headteachers will always want more money to be spent but we will continue to make plans according to the budget we have.
“There are always financial concerns in schools but we are currently in a healthy position at Blessed Trinity.
“I’m confident that over the next three years we won’t be making any cuts in our staffing numbers.
“One change, though, which has hit all schools hard in the last year is the increase in National Insurance costs, which have been passed on to schools.”
Shuttleworth College headteacher Ruth England was equally upbeat and said the figures did not take into account the unique circumstances of each individual school.
She said: “Government cuts over the last few years have made life more difficult but we’re not planning to cut any teachers.
“We are growing each year in student numbers and are able to maintain the staffing levels we need.
“I believe these figures quoted are imperfect because they don’t factor in increases of student numbers year on year.
“However, there’s no doubt school budgets are being squeezed and everybody has to balance their books.”
Sir John Thursby, Unity and Hameldon headteachers were contacted for a statement but did not respond.
The unions are now calling on the Government to take immediate action “to inject much needed money into an already beleaguered system” and protect schools from rising costs.
A spokesman said: “It is the only sensible solution to a crisis with which schools are already dealing and which is set to get worse.
“Unless the Government allocates additional money, schools and academies will lose huge amounts of money – rising to £2.5 billion a year in real terms by 2020.
“We estimate that 92% of schools could lose out, even after the introduction of a new funding formula. These cuts will hurt us all.”
The unions used the 2015/16 funding as the baseline, and calculated the impact of the cash freeze on per pupil income, the proposed cut to the Education Services Grant and the proposed introduction of a National Funding Formula.
They included a minimum funding guarantee (MFG) as this has been in place since the Government started moving towards a National Funding Formula in 2013/14.
If and when the Government produces its own formula, the website will be amended in order to provide revised predictions reflecting that formula.
The spokesman added: “Inflation for schools will amount to 8% over the lifetime of this parliament. This is the figure used by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
“Schools will continue to receive a minimum funding guarantee until 2020. This guarantees that schools lose no more than 1.5% of their income per pupil per year, but with nothing to cover inflation.”