Teachers at Penrith summit call for end to school cuts

Date: Friday 14th September 2018

SCHOOL leaders, teachers, governors and politicians from across the county are gathering in Penrith today for the NAHT Cumbria Education Summit 2018.

Delegates will discuss the impact cuts to school funding are having on schools in the county.

They say schools in Cumbria and the North West are being hit hard by government underfunding, with 234 of 272 schools in Cumbria facing cuts. The county will see a £10.9 million loss by 2020 — £197 per pupil.

A national survey by NAHT shows that 65 per cent of school leaders "strongly agree" that cut backs have already had a negative impact on the performance of their school. Only eight per cent of school leaders said they did not foresee a year where they would have an untenable deficit.

The Cumbria Education Summit, which is taking place at the Rheged Centre, will be addressed by Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Sue Sanderson, cabinet member for schools and learning on Cumbria County Council, and Neil Short, chairman of the National Association of Small Schools.

Clem Coady, headteacher of Stoneraise School, Carlisle, said: “Significant cuts to school funding are having a detrimental impact to our pupils’ learning. Cuts to both support staff and teaching staff hours are now the only way for schools to make ends meet.

"The impact of these cuts reduces the effectiveness and quality of education for this generation of children. Education should never be seen as a burden on the treasury, but as an investment in our future.

“School leaders across our county have managed these cuts very effectively so far, by reducing all aspects of school expenditure possible. Unfortunately this has not been enough, with a significant proportion of our schools now increasing class sizes, reducing support for pupils, and limiting the curriculum on offer, as they have no other options available."

Rob Kelsall, national secretary (organising and campaigns) of NAHT, added: “Schools across Cumbria are at breaking point. Government cuts to school budgets have been unrelenting in the last few years and headteachers are saying that enough is enough.

"The situation is untenable and we are calling on politicians on all sides to join with us and end this crisis right now."