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School jobs at risk in funding shake-up
Pupils at York High School prepare for a photograph of the entire school. Funding changes mean it could see a £57,000 reduction in the money it receives
A HEAD teachers’ leader has warned that jobs are likely to be lost at some York schools following Government changes to funding formulae.
John Killeen, of the National Association of Head Teachers, was speaking after City of York Council released details of the winners and losers across the city in the wake of the changes, first reported in The Press yesterday.
The data shows that, even after the cuts and increases in funding are dampened down to a maximum of 1.5 per cent a year for the next two years, some schools are still tens of thousands of pounds better or worse off.
The “winners” include Huntington School, which will receive an additional £67,493, and Westfield Primary School, which will get an extra £22,356.
The “losers” include York High School, which will see a £57,204 cut in its funding, Robert Wilkinson Primary School in Strensall, where funding will be cut by £21,240 and Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary School, which faces a £20,407 reduction However, David Ellis, the head teacher at York High, said the situation was less severe than the school’s figure might suggest.
He said he was optimistic that the number of pupils would rise next year, which would increase the school’s income, and said natural staff turnover might also result in salary savings.
Chris Wigley, head of Clifton With Rawcliffe Primary School, said he would need to look at the impact of the changes more closely but he pledged that the school would work to ensure there was as little impact as possible on the educational provision for pupils.
A York council spokesman said not all the reductions for some schools could be put down to the proposed new funding formulae.
“We were, in some cases, expecting reductions for these schools for other reasons, notably where there have been school mergers in recent years and their transition funding was always going to reduce. The amount of money going into schools depends on a number of factors, including the numbers of pupils and levels of deprivation in the areas served by schools,” he said.
He said York would experience a lesser impact than rural North Yorkshire because the city had already changed and simplified its school funding formulae in 2005/6. But Mr Killeen said that with wages accounting for about 80 per cent of school budgets, it was likely that some of the schools losing funds would have little optioin but to shed employees – either support staff or teachers – and children’s education would suffer as a result.
“I think it’s inevitable,” he said.
He also had concerns about what might happen after the two years of “damping” arrangements came to an end, by when overall Government funding for education might also be facing reductions.
“It might be slow death by a thousand cuts.”
• The “winners and losers” table published yesterday outlined the proposed cuts and increases to funding for schools within the North Yorkshire County Council area before “damping arrangements” to reduce the impact in the first two years. The table linked to below shows the impact in York schools after such damping arrangements.
Drive to raise money for energy panels
YORK High School is among more than 30 schools across the UK which have started a fundraising drive to buy solar panels.
The schools are hoping to raise a combined total of £500,000 to invest in the technology. The solar panels will then be installed on their roofs and used to generate electricity for the buildings, while also being used as part of lessons.
David Ellis, the head teacher at York High, said the school needed to raise £10,000, and it would be appealing for sponsorship from businesses sympathetic to the environmental benefits that would be achieved by the scheme.
The Solar Schools campaign is being led by environmental group 10:10 and is backed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Nesta, Tudor Trust and the Bertha Foundation, Co-Operative Energy, Mumsnet and Lush Cosmetics.
Maddy Carroll, Solar Schools campaign manager, said: “Solar panels are an incredible investment and a great way to teach pupils about energy and climate change, but with budgets squeezed, many schools struggle to afford the upfront investment.”