Headteachers at primary, nursery, and special schools across the borough fear cuts to their budgets will result in job losses, stressed-out teachers, and pupils’ education suffering.
Schools in Southwark are predicted to be the worst hit by the Government’s national funding formula, with estimates of cuts of £1,024 per pupil per year.
Southwark Heads, a body representing primary, nursery and special schools, said it had been “viewing with increasing alarm the impact that Government policy is having on school budgets”.
In a letter sent to the News, signed by more than 80 headteachers, the body said: “The biggest losers in this will be the children. This level of cuts can only result in job losses and this will have a direct impact on children’s outcomes.
“Simply put, there will not be the appropriate numbers of staff to meet the needs of the children. The quality of children’s education will suffer as a result.”
“Who will want to work in school environments that are stretched beyond their means?
“Funding cuts will only continue to increase workloads and the levels of pressure on teachers, who are already leaving the profession in droves.”
“Cuts in funding jeopardise the education system as a whole,” they wrote. “It is time that the Government recognised the hugely negative impact that its policies are having on children’s education.
“Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the answer. Sufficient funding for children in all schools has to be the goal.”
A public consultation on the national funding formula, which the Government says will end the historic ‘postcode lottery’ and ensure that similar schools in different areas are treated in the same way, ends on March 22.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at more than £40bn in 2016-17. But the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated.
“We are going to end the historic postcode lottery in school funding and under the proposed national schools funding formula, more than half of England’s schools will receive a cash boost.
“London will remain the highest funded part of the country under our proposals, with inner London schools being allocated 30 percent more funding per pupil than the national average.?
“Significant protections have also been built into the formula so that no school will face a reduction of more than more than 1.5 per cent per pupil per year or 3 per cent per pupil overall.
“But we recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide support to help them use their funding in cost effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services, so? they get the best possible value.
“We are consulting on the factors that will make up the formula and we know that it is important that we get this right so that every pound of the investment we make in education has the greatest impact.
“The consultation will run until March 22, and we are keen to hear from as many schools, governors, local authorities and parents as possible.”