H&F Schools Could Face 'Startling' Budget Cuts by 2020

New figures show local constituencies could be among worst hit in country

Our two local parliamentary constituencies, Hammersmith and Chelsea and Fulham, are likely to be among those worst hit by school funding cuts, according to new figures published by the National Union on Teachers, or NUT, and  Association of Teachers and Lecturers, or ATL.

The new figures show the effect by the year 2020 of projected budget cuts both per pupil and on the overall budget for schools in the constituency.

A list of the 100 worst hit constituencies in the country puts Chelsea and Fulham, whose MP is Conservative Greg Hands at number 11. According to the statistics, it stands to suffer an annual loss of 14% or £868 per pupil, with the overall budget being slashed from the current total of £55,505,000 to £47,640,165 - a reduction of £7,864,835.

The constituency of Hammersmith, which currently also includes Shepherd's Bush, and whose MP is Labour's Andy Slaughter, fares little better at number 14. According to the figures, it also faces an annual loss of 14% of its budget, or £839 per pupil, with the overall budget cut from £60,764,000 to £52,138,612 - a loss of £8,625,388.

The NUT and ATL have also launched a website called Schoolcuts, which has an new interactive map showing the effect on individual schools throughout England.

In Hammersmith and Fulham. the map shows that all schools face losing over £400 per pupil, with the worst affected losing over £1,000. Normand Croft Community School in Fulham for instance is projected to lose an astonishing £1,241 while Hurlingham Academy could lose £1,068.

In Shepherd's Bush, Hammersmith Academy could face a cut of £1,195 per pupil and in Hammersmith Sacred Heart High School faces a possible loss of £915. Even the West London Free School, one of the Tory Government's flagship free schools, could lose £986 per pupil.

The NUT and ATL estimate that across England, 92% of schools could face cuts in their funding per pupil in real terms over the next four years, with no local authority – and no MP – set to gain overall, even after the redistributive impact of the Government’s “fair funding” proposals have been taken into account. There are no proposals as yet for any new money in the schools budget that would change this.

They add that there will be worse to come if the Government intends only to shift the already inadequate overall school funding around the country, rather than do the right thing – which is to increase it.

By 2020 they predict:

  • Schools with the most deprived intakes would face the greatest average losses in real terms: £579 per pupil in primary schools, and £784 in secondaries.
  • The average real terms loss for primary schools would be £96,481, or £401 per pupil.
  • The average real terms loss for secondary schools would be £290,228, or £365 per pupil.
  • Average budget cuts could be 6.5% in primary schools and 9% in secondary schools.

They are now calling on the Government to take immediate action to inject much needed money into an already beleaguered system and protect schools from rising inflation, saying it is the only sensible solution to a crisis already underway and which is set to get harder for schools to cope with.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:"The Chancellor needs to heed the warning that schools cannot continue to give the education children and parents expect and deserve unless additional funding is given.

"There is no further room to manoeuvre, budgets have already been cut to the bone and all the sacrifices and compromises have been made. Schools simply cannot take another blow to already precarious finances. We need to invest in education. Failure to do so will be seriously letting a generation of children and young people down."

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has been campaigning for months against Government plans that could see funding for local schools slashed, and has been urging parents, carers and guardians to get involved.

They can keep up with what is happening and have their say on the plans by visiting the council's Fair Funding page.

The council says changes to the way the Government funds schools across the country are likely to have a negative impact on schools in our borough, threatening jobs, hitting the range of subjects taught, and even damaging the long-term viability of some schools.

" We know that the tremendous work undertaken by teachers, governors, parents and carers each and every day makes our schools thrive. Any cuts to funding will make that work more difficult," said Cllr Sue Macmillan, H&F Cabinet Member for Children and Education in June.

" I have been talking to schools about this issue for some months now, but it is crucial that people are aware of the Government’s plans and what we can do together to oppose them. That’s why we are launching a borough-wide drive to involve all those who care about our local schools to join with us in fighting these plans."

The council say that essentially the Government is looking to cut funding from authorities like H&F to redistribute that money to authorities outside of London that have historically invested less in their schools.

The Government is expected to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks, and also launch a consultation on their plans.

" Just as Hammersmith & Fulham Council invested in education for many years, it is right that the Government should invest in education outside London - but not at the expense of our schools," Cllr Macmillan said.

" It’s really important at that point that as many people as possible get involved in the consultation. The council is determined to do all it can to safeguard funding for all schools in our borough. The arguments we make when the government announces its plans will be made all the more powerful with your support."

June 22, 2016