Budleigh Salterton primary school pleads for volunteers after massive funding cuts

A plea has been made for volunteers to come forward to help children at Budleigh Salterton’s cash-strapped primary school.

The lack of government funding for schools has intensified the need for members of the Budleigh community to help at St Peter’s.

According to National Education Union website schoolcuts.org.uk

St Peter’s, in Moor Lane, faces a £70,000 shortfall in its budget next year – equating to £243 per pupil.

Classroom assistants, language support, swimming helpers and pupil mentors are among the roles the school, which already has a band of 25 volunteers, is looking to fill.

Headteacher Steve Hitchcock said the financial pressure on the school means volunteering at the school is even more important.

He said: “We are lucky – we do have quite a big army of volunteers already.

“We are looking for people who can help out in school, particularly with younger children and help them 
with their learning and play.

“We are asking if anyone else in our community would be able to offer a bit of their time each week to help us grow and nurture the pupils at our school.

“Volunteering is definitely something we were doing anyway, but the need has become bigger in the last three or four years.

“Each year, we have lost teaching staff and have not been able to replace them so we rely on volunteers more and more.”

As well as the volunteers who help out at school, members of the PTA have given up their time to raise funds for St Peter’s.

Mr Hitchcock said that without them, the school’s new on-site library would not have been possible.

The school has also asked for financial contributions from parents to help keep the school afloat.

Anyone interested in volunteering will be subject to background checks and Mr Hitchcock said a love of working with children is vital.

He said: “I have done job descriptions to give people an idea of the range of things we are looking for them to do.”

Visit the school website or pop in to the office for more information on how to become a school volunteer.

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/budleigh-primary-school-volunteer-plea-1-6406166

“IFS warn austerity ‘baked in’ a Tory manifesto with ‘notable’ lack of social care funding”

In a dire warning the IFS added: “even in 2023–24 day-to-day spending on public services outside of health would still be almost 15 per cent lower in real terms that it was at the start of the 2010s.”

“The Institute for Fiscal Studies is deeply unimpressed at what it deemed a “lack of significant policy action” in the Conservative Party manifesto.

The Tory social care crisis for Britain’s elderly and infirm that Johnson had promised to fix when he became PM did not even get a mention in the manifesto. Johnson had previously claimed that he had a plan ready to sort it out.

The IFS concluded that the manifesto plans meant people expecting relief for Britain’s public services after a decade of austerity would instead see “cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.”

Economic researchers at the independent think tank calculated that the National Insurance threshold rise to £9,500 that Boris Johnson appeared to have lied or been mistaken about will actually only save most in paid work “less than £2 a week” and highlighted the “notable omission” for any plan to deal with the crisis in social care funding.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive at the Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank, said he was “bitterly disappointed” to see “unnecessary delay” in tackling the issue of social care.

IFS director Paul Johnson said: “If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals, we would have been calling it modest.

“As a blueprint for five years in government, the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.”

Main manifesto pledges quickly debunked

Speaking at a launch event in Telford, Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to take the UK out of the EU by the end of January, so they could “forge a new Britain”. “We will get Brexit done and we will end the acrimony and the chaos,” he said.

As well as a flagship promise of 50,000 more nurses for the NHS in England despite Brexit “chaos”, the manifesto included a U-turn restoring maintenance grants for student nurses previously scrapped by the Tories.

Tory sources later acknowledged that about 30,000 of the additional nurses would come from measures to retain existing staff rather than new recruits, and the main Tory manifesto pledge was debunked among other claims by a fact checking service within hours of the launch. Labour called the Tory figures “deceitful.”

Chief executive Will Moy said the Conservative Party could “do more to meet the standards we expect” after investigating its pledges on paving the way for 50,000 new nurses and limiting day-to-day spending increases to only £3 billion, despite promising a litany of public services investment.

The fact checkers also slammed Johnson’s use the the slogan “get Brexit done”, a phrase that appears 22 times in the manifesto including on the cover, when a deal with the European Union could take “years to negotiate”.

“The Brexit process will not be completed by January,” despite what Johnson keeps repeating said the independent organisation.

‘Older people face a triple whammy’

“After a decade of the Conservatives cutting our NHS, police and schools, all Boris Johnson is offering is more of the same: more cuts, more failure, and years more of Brexit uncertainty,” Jeremy Corbyn responded.

He added: “Boris Johnson can’t be trusted. Older people face a triple whammy as he has failed to protect free TV licences for over 75s, refused to grant justice to women unfairly affected by the increase in the state pension age, and not offered a plan or extra money to fix the social care crisis.”

The lacklustre manifesto may be down to Conservative complacency after recent polls. The latest polling released on Sunday, created by Datapraxis using YouGov polling and voter interviews, suggested the Tories were on course to secure their largest Commons majority since 1987 – a majority of almost 50 MPs.

This would mean if Boris Johnson met the public services spending promises in his manifesto the UK would still be looking at a decade of cuts “baked into” our services, according to the IFS analysis.

Boris Johnson’s broken promise to fix Tory social care crisis

Paul Johnson of the IFS’ initial reaction to the Tory manifesto was scathing: “If the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos were notable for the scale of their ambitions the Conservative one is not. If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest. As a blueprint for five years in government the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.

“In part that is because the chancellor announced some big spending rises back In September. Other than for health and schools, though, that was a one-off increase. Taken at face value today’s manifesto suggests that for most services, in terms of day-to-day spending, that’s it. Health and school spending will continue to rise. Give or take pennies, other public services, and working age benefits, will see the cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.”

“One notable omission is any plan for social care. In his first speech as prime minister Boris Johnson promised to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’. After two decades of dither by both parties in government it seems we are no further forward.

“On the tax side the rise in the National Insurance threshold was well trailed. The ambition for it to get to £12,500 may remain, but only the initial rise to £9,500 has been costed and firmly promised. Most in paid work would benefit, but by less than £2 a week. Another £6 billion would need to be found to get to £12,500 by the end of the parliament. Given the pressures on the spending side that is not surprising.”

“Perhaps the biggest, and least welcome, announcement is the ‘triple tax lock’: no increases in rates of income tax, NICs or VAT. That’s a constraint the chancellor may come to regret. It is also part of a fundamentally damaging narrative – that we can have the public services we want, with more money for health and pensions and schools – without paying for them. We can’t.”

School cuts barely reversed

The Conservative manifesto confirmed previous commitments in England to increase school spend in England by £7.1 billion by 2022–23. However, that would leave spend per pupil in real terms after a decade of austerity at the same level as 13 years ago, the IFS explained.

In contrast the IFS found the Labour commitment of a £7.5 billion real terms increase by 2022–23 a 14.6% rise in spending per pupil.

Unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats the Conservative manifesto refused to extend free, pre-school childcare.

IFS researchers warned that the Conservative manifesto pledges left “little scope for spending increases beyond next year outside of those planned for health and schools.”

In a dire warning the IFS added: “even in 2023–24 day-to-day spending on public services outside of health would still be almost 15 per cent lower in real terms that it was at the start of the 2010s.”

@BenGelblum

IFS warn austerity ‘baked in’ a Tory manifesto with ‘notable’ lack of social care funding

The plight of small rural primary schools

“Leaders of small, rural primary schools fear that funding constraints could see their school closed, a poll has revealed.

Primary schools in England with less than 150 pupils are being forced to cut back spending on things like equipment, teaching assistant hours and building maintenance, according to a survey by the National Association of Headteachers union.

The survey, which heard from 10% of 3,614 small schools, found that 42% of leaders were concerned about the possible closure of their school with a lack of funding given as the primary cause (84%).

Low or fluctuating pupil numbers was another key reason given for potential closures, with 73% citing this as the most likely cause.

The NAHT found that 70% had reduced investment in equipment, 67% have cut hours for teaching assistants and 60% have spent less on their building maintenance “in recent years”.

Speaking at the NAHT’s primary schools conference in London today, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “Small schools are at the heart of our local and rural communities. But as one of the groups hit hardest by budget cuts, for thousands of small schools the future remains uncertain.

“This is a terrible state of affairs when you think about how about vital these schools are. In many places, the school is the last public service left standing in their community. The post office, the police station, the library, the community centre have all gone.

“We cannot allow the school to be next. These schools may be small, but their loss would be incalculable.”

The poll found 41% of school leaders surveyed said they received additional funding through the National Funding Formula for being a small school, such as ‘sparsity funding’ – brought in to protect small schools.

But even those that did, 84% said it was not enough to provide “reasonable budget stability”.

James Bowen, NAHT director of policy, said: “All schools have suffered as a result of budget cuts, but small schools have been hit particularly hard. These schools play a vital role in their communities and they must be protected.”

Bowen added that current funding arrangements are “clearly” not working for small primary schools. …”

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2019/11/union-reveals-plight-rural-primary-schools

“Yorkshire schools will not get back millions lost in trust’s collapse”

“Schools in Yorkshire that transferred millions of pounds to a multi-academy trust before it went bust will not get the money back, the area’s schools commissioner has confirmed.

Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), which ran 21 schools, was accused of asset-stripping after it moved its schools’ reserves to centralised accounts before admitting new sponsors would need to be found for them days into the new term in September 2017.

The schools commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Vicky Beer, has written to MPs confirming that the trust entered liquidation and was closed on 24 October this year.

“I advised previously that any remaining monies would be determined at the point of closure and that there were still costs to be met including pension liabilities and outstanding invoices,” she wrote.

“These costs have now been met and balances cleared. Unfortunately, this does not leave any remaining funds to distribute amongst the previous WCAT academies and their new trusts.” …”

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/nov/18/yorkshire-schools-will-not-get-back-millions-lost-in-trusts-collapse?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“School funding crisis blamed for ‘catastrophic’ rise in supersized classes”

“Almost 1 million school pupils are in classes of 31 or more, a surge of nearly 30% since 2010, according to a report.

Data from the National Education Union (NEU) also shows that nearly 20,000 more pupils were in supersized classes of more than 36 in 2018-19, compared with eight years ago.

Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, described the developments as “catastrophic” and blamed the figures on a “real-terms funding crisis” in education.

Most constituencies in England have experienced an increase in average class sizes since 2010, the report suggests. Class sizes increased on average in 474 out of 533 constituencies, and fell in just 59.

The Department for Education said last month that average class sizes had remained stable.

A total of 961,127 pupils in England were taught in classes of 31 or more in the academic year 2018-19, a 29% rise from 2010-11. The percentage of students in classes of 36 or more rose by 44% in the same time frame, to 63,566 pupils in 2018-19.

The most dramatic development has been faced by secondary pupils, of whom 21,843 were sitting in classes of 36 or more in 2018-19, a 258% increase since 2010.

The NEU said 34% of teachers had declared a reduction in class size as their “absolute top priority”, regardless of who enters No 10.

Bousted said pupils were experiencing “the inevitable result of several government policies which have conspired to put a squeeze on schools”.

“The real-terms funding crisis has had catastrophic effects, including a direct impact on class size,” she said.

“Today’s analysis will ring true for every parent who has witnessed their school cutting teaching assistant posts, reducing subject choice or organising fundraiser events and begging letters.

“Parents are no fools. They can see with their own eyes the impact of funding pressures on their children’s education and the reduction in individual contact time that their child has with their teachers.” …”

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/nov/14/school-funding-crisis-blamed-for-catastrophic-rise-in-supersized-classes?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Exmouth Community College is having a hairy time of it …

Letter sent to parents – Owl recalls a time when pupils were sent home for having hair too long!

Does hair length affect exam results?

Note to College – this is called a “fade cut” – do keep up!

“Dear Parents & Carers

We are noticing an increase in students who are choosing to have more extreme haircuts which involve very long hair on top but with very short hair around the sides. We would like to remind parents and carers that we do not allow students to have their hair cut below a grade 2 or to have very extreme differences in hair length. If students do get their hair cut extremely short then I am afraid we will have to keep them out of lessons until it has grown back to a suitable length.

Many thanks for your support with this issue.”

Exmouth Community College