More schools in East Devon to cut staff

“More schools in East Devon have revealed they are looking at reducing staff numbers because of cuts to education funding.

This week Clyst Vale Community College’s governing body told staff all their jobs were under consultation. The school in Broadclyst is facing a deficit and its student numbers are down by 300 compared with five years ago.

Two other East Devon secondary schools will also shortly be invoking their redundancy processes, but it has not been revealed which schools they are.

And now the headteacher of Exeter Road Community Primary School in Exmouth has admitted unless it makes cuts to its staffing costs it will unable to balance its budget.

Paul Gosling said: “Exeter Road has a higher percentage of children from disadvantaged backgrounds than the national average, but this school performs well because of the contribution that support staff make to the welfare and learning of vulnerable children.

“We are now preparing for the 2017/18 financial year and, based on the information that we currently have, unless we continue to make some cuts in our staffing costs we will not be able to balance our budget.

“Our good performance is put at risk by the savings we might be forced to make, as the number of support staff we employ is the only place left that we can cut.”

Schools in Devon will soon be seeing the impact of an estimated £3bn shortfall in the government’s education budget by 2020.

They are the first real terms cuts to education spending since the 1990s, with 98 per cent of schools set to lose funding at a time when costs are rising and pupil numbers on average are growing.

Devon is likely to lose an average of £401 per pupil – a total of over £35m for the region as a whole. It is feared class sizes in primary schools could rise and some GCSE and A Level subjects could be cut from the curriculum.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. The government’s £3b real terms cut to education funding must be reversed or we will see education and care suffer.

“Already heads are being forced to cut staff, cut the curriculum and cut specialist support. A new funding formula is the right thing to do, but it cannot be truly fair unless there is enough money to go round in the first place.”

The NAHT is holding a series of national events to raise awareness among school leaders, governors and parents.

It will be meeting in Tiverton next Tuesday, February 7, to spread the word in the hope that local pressure will force the government to explain its rationale for cutting the education budget at a time when the school population is rising and costs are going up.”