Barnet schools: Funding cuts "putting excellence at high risk"

Twenty nine Barnet schools have written to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, about the impact that the proposed new National Funding Formula and other funding cuts will have on school budgets, quality and their offer to local children.

The letter states that "We work as Business managers and Directors in schools in Barnet, an area of educational excellence. We are concerned that funding cuts and rising costs, largely resulting from Government, are putting that excellence at high risk."

The letter highlights that the National Audit Office reported the Department for Education "...estimates that mainstream schools will have to find savings of £3 billion to counteract cumulative cost pressures" but that "The department's savings estimates do not take account of the cost implications for schools of its policy changes."

The letter goes on to say: "The expected savings, as well as changes to pension and National Insurance payments, pay rises promoted by the Department, and cuts to funding, such as the Education Services Grant, present significant challenges for all schools.

"For the losers under the National Funding Formula, as the majority of us we will be, these challenges will be further magnified. The formula will place a greater proportion of the cuts on fewer schools, increasing the problems that we, in Barnet, will face.

"Your Department may see this as a zero sum, in which losers are balanced out by winners. However, not enough attention is being paid to the effect of this change. As losers we will have little choice but to reduce our offer, diluting our success further than other schools, resulting in measurable reductions in quality."

The letter follows a Labour motion opposing the cuts at last month's Full Council meeting which all 32 Conservative councillors voted against, stating they were in favour of the National Funding Formula and that the cuts were "likely to be much lower" than £497 per pupil.

Labour's Children's Services spokesperson, Cllr Anne Hutton said: "This letter from schools backs up what we have been saying - the Government should be levelling-up funding for schools, not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

"The figures provided in the letter are just the impact of the National Funding Formula, they don't include the financial effect of the 75 per cent cut to the Education Services Grant, the freeze in per pupil funding or the rising costs that schools are facing.

"Taken together, it means many schools in Barnet are heading for a car crash in two or three years time."

1. A copy of the letter from the 29 Barnet schools can be found here:

2. For more from Barnet Labour on the National Funding Formula see:

For more information contact:
Cllr Anne Hutton:
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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