Budget cuts may force us to reduce school hours, warns Chichester headteacher

Bishop luffa

Concerned Chichester headteacher Nick Taunt has warned he may have to reduce school opening hours to cope with “dreadful cuts” resulting from the controversial government educational funding proposal.

Mr Taunt, in charge of Bishop Luffa School, has written to parents to try to outline the severity of measures he will consider should the so called National Funding Formula (NFF) have a detrimental affect.

And as well as cutting school hours, he says teaching and support staff jobs could come under threat; class sizes could swell to more than 30 and the provision of books, equipment and IT facilities could suffer.

Part of the letter, sent today, reads:

You will know that our children’s educational future is being put at risk by the severe funding cuts that are being put forward by the Government and the Department for Education. School leaders from Cornwall to Norfolk and all parts in between are saying the same thing – we can’t all be wrong!

In short, the new National Funding Formula (NFF) provides some increased money to some schools, but large numbers of schools also miss out. Crucially, however, even those schools that seem to get more under the NFF will find that their budgets go down in real terms because of hidden costs such as National Insurance and pension payments that every school has to pay.

Nick Taunt

Nick Taunt

Your child will not be protected from these cuts and as a result, the following is happening and matters will get worse:

• Reduction in the number of teaching and support staff
• Increasing class sizes – often to well above 30 in a classroom
• Inferior books, equipment and IT facilities
• Fewer extra-curricular clubs and activities
• Reduction in curriculum opportunities
• A potential for modified (reduced) school opening hours in the future

We are also increasingly concerned that parents are going to be asked to make more and more ‘voluntary’ contributions to pay for their child’s education in order for schools to make ends meet. In our view, this is entirely wrong.

It is vital for parents to understand that once the Department for Education makes their proposed decisions, they will be permanent. Our children’s educational provision will be severely compromised.

If we can act together then these dreadful cuts can be avoided. We need the Government and Department for Education to listen and then invest in our children’s future. They must also stop wasting money on projects that every independent expert says do not provide value for money.

Mr Taunt goes on to ask parents to have an input in the NFF consultation response (seen here). He added: “School leaders from many counties have devised the guide so that we all speak with one voice.

“You will get just one chance to make a real difference for your child’s education. I, and other school leaders, are incredibly grateful for your supportive approach to date. Please let’s work together in order to protect our children’s education and invest in our children’s future.”


About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.