East Yorkshire schools face budget deficits as costs rise
More than half the schools in Yorkshire are predicted to see budget deficits this year, union data suggests.
A survey by the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) suggested 66% of schools were considering sacking teaching assistants or reducing hours.
The Department for Education said it was increasing school funding by £4bn.
Michael Loncaster, headteacher at Molescroft Primary School in Beverley, said he had not seen a situation like this in his 30-year career.
He said: \”The change in costs – the money has actually gone mid-year. It\’s the proverbial rug being pulled from under us.\”
He added: \”I can\’t cure that amount of deficit without cutting staff. But that\’s not what I am going to do, that would be the absolute last resort. I hope there is going to be funding coming through into the system, because in a sense it has to.\”
The NAHT survey had 1,100 responses from schools across Yorkshire, with 52% saying they predicted a deficit this academic year.
The union said schools were facing \”a perfect storm of costs\” with spiralling energy prices, increases in food costs and a pay award for teachers that is unfunded by the government.
Jonny Uttley, chief executive of the Education Alliance, which has 6,500 students at its seven schools across East Yorkshire, said he was expecting a \”really tough winter in schools\”.
Mr Uttley said there had been a 20% rise in pupils attending breakfast clubs which provide meals for students.
\”I\’d love to be able to provide far more free school meals, far more breakfast clubs and after-school clubs but the money isn\’t there to do that and we are having to make some really tough decisions ourselves,\” he said.
\”This is more worrying than Covid, because it\’s harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
\”It puts schools certainly in my experience in completely unchartered territory.\”
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: \”We understand that schools are facing cost pressures which is why we are providing them with £53.8 billion this year in core funding, including a cash increase of £4 billion for this financial year.
\”All schools will benefit from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, reducing how much they need to spend on their energy and giving them greater certainty over their budgets over the winter months. We are also providing schools with tools and information to help get the best value for money from their resources.\”
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