No Christmas cheer for Gloucestershire pupils as county seeks to fill £3 million funding hole

No Christmas cheer for Gloucestershire pupils as county seeks to fill £3 million funding hole

The season of gift-giving is here but for pupils at Gloucestershire schools there are no Christmas presents in the pipeline.

Last week Gloucestershire County Council confirmed it is pushing ahead with plans to transfer money from general school funding to make up the £3 million deficit in High Needs funding. The council has now asked the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, to approve the move.

This means one of the pre-Christmas tasks on Mr Hinds’ desk is to approve the funding transfer which will make a mockery of ‘fair funding’ for Gloucestershire children, as well as ignoring the pleas of many headteachers.

I have met many of them recently and they are at their wits’ end. Headteachers care deeply about enabling pupils to fulfil their potential but are increasingly struggling to do so and are having to look at redundancies, cuts to subjects, books and equipment.

Many Gloucestershire children won’t receive the so-called ‘minimum funding’ promised by the government. Some secondary schools will face losing sums of around £100,000. The council says rising demands on its high needs and special needs budgets and its own dire lack of funds have forced it into this position.

I have written to Education Minister Damian Hinds outlining my concerns about the funding transfer and calling for fair funding for Gloucestershire children. You can read my letter here.

This transfer is  the latest blow to be dealt to Stroud schools, which also face increasing costs and rising number of children needing specialist support. There simply isn’t enough money to provide the education our children deserve. I know Gloucestershire Association of Primary Headteachers is also now campaigning, and I back their cause and will also be writing to Chancellor Philip Hammond in support of GAPH.

 

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