Honiton Community College set to lose £146k in shake-up
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 24 January 2017
Cash-strapped Honiton Community College stands to lose a further £146,000 - the equivalent of four teachers - under the Government's 'fairer funding' shake-up.
Principal Glenn Smith has slammed proposals and warned the school cannot take more ‘escalating financial pressures’ as he appealed for parents and the public to rally support in the face of an ‘urgent’ situation facing Devon schools.
The college received £186,760 less than a similar-sized school, funded at the national average in 2016/17, and the Government’s fairer funding formula – meant to redress imbalance and tackle the ‘postcode lottery’ – would deal a further blow.
Feeder schools – including Honiton Primary School – will also be hit under the proposals.
Matt Burrell, the college’s director of finance, said: “We are all extremely disappointed with what is being proposed under the fairer funding review – schools can’t take much more of this.
“For the last several years, we have been proactive in tightening our belts, pooling resources to make sure we maintain adequate reserves in case anything drastic happens, whilst enabling standards of teaching and learning to go from strength to strength.”
Mr Smith said the college would be forced to use even more of its stretched budget to offset cuts, funding changes and financial increases – such as the increased minimum wage and pension contributions – for which no additional funds are provided.
In a letter to MP Neil Parish expressing his concerns, Mr Smith said: “Despite two decades of high profile campaigning, Devon has, for many years, been one of the lowest-funded education authorities in England.
“Meanwhile, the legacy of an unsatisfactory funding settlement has been further worsened for schools by rising expenditure demands owing to national policy decisions beyond our control.
“We are therefore seeking your valued support in raising awareness of the urgent situation facing Devon schools and to petition on our behalf to consider an urgent solution to mitigate the impact of the present crisis.”
Mr Smith issued a stark warning that ‘harsh cuts’ for education in Devon could render some of the smaller schools unable to produce a balanced budget - and could result in their loss altogether.
He added: “Maybe, when some Devon schools start to buckle under the increasing financial pressures, the Government will start to make education a priority once more. Tony Blair’s top three priorities for government were ‘education, education and education’ – God knows how far down the present government’s list education is now, or whether it even features at all.”
The principal called on the public, parents and pupils to support a campaign for fairer funding by writing to county councillors, their MP and the secretary of state for education, Justine Greening.