New research by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Child Poverty Action Group, using Department of Education data, shows that under current Tory Government schools funding policy, the thousand schools nationally with the highest number of children who have free school meals are facing much higher cuts in funding per pupil than schools generally.
In Salford, twelve schools that have over forty per cent of pupil on free school meals fall into this category and will average real term cuts of £475 per pupil, or 9%, between 2015 and 2020. The hardest hit will be Dukesgate Academy in Little Hulton, which faces a 13% cut of £692 per pupil, followed by St Sebastian's RC Primary in Charlestown, which faces a 12% cut of £633 per pupil.
Three schools face 11% cuts – Marlborough Road Academy in Higher Broughton (£599 per pupil), Lower Kersal Community Primary (£535 per pupil) and Peel Hall Primary in Little Hulton ((£513 per pupil). 10% cuts will hit The Friars Primary School in Blackfriars (£502 per pupil) and St George's CofE Primary in Charlestown (£537 per pupil)...
There will be a 9% cut to Lark Hill Community Primary in Langworthy (£428 per pupil); an 8% cut to River View Primary in Lower Broughton (£399 per pupil) and Barton Moss Community Primary in Eccles (£390 per pupil); a 7% cut to Bridgewater Primary in Little Hulton (£317 per pupil) and a 6% cut to The Albion Academy secondary school in Charlestown (£350 per pupil).
"These are shocking figures" says Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group "If the country - and our education system - is to work for everyone, not just the privileged few, Ministers must reconsider the school funding formula.
"Poverty at home is the strongest statistical predictor of how well a child will do at school" she explains "Schools and teachers can help to weaken that link if they have sufficient resources, but these new findings show that schools in the poorest areas would lose most from the Government's proposed new funding formula. That would widen the educational attainment gap and set many of our children up to fail. In the context of the Prime Minister's social justice agenda, that outcome looks perverse.
"Up and down the country there are kids from hard-up households who find the odds are stacked against them both inside and outside the school gates" she adds "They may aim high, their parents' and teachers' aspirations may be strong – they may love school – but if there isn't money at home for books, for an extra booster lesson or computer or even space for a homework desk, then they're being denied a fair chance in life."
Meanwhile, 98% of schools generally face a real terms loss in funding per pupil between now and 2020, even taking into account the Government's proposed 'fair funding' formula. In the wake of yesterday's Budget, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, slated the Tories for focussing on new grammar schools and free schools...
"This budget is a complete dereliction of duty to our children and young people" he said "The Chancellor knows full well that schools and sixth form colleges up and down the country are on their knees struggling to make ends meet. School budgets have been cut to the bone, class sizes have increased, subjects have been dropped from the curriculum, materials and resources are scarce yet nothing has been done to address this very serious problem. All this comes at a time of soaring pupil numbers and a developing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.
"Instead of tackling this crisis of their own making, we now learn that extra funding will pour into the opening of new free schools and grammar schools for which there is absolutely no need" he added "Parents and teachers will be deeply dismayed at this flagrant and irresponsible waste of money. These are simply the wrong priorities.
"The Government must focus on the funding crisis in our schools and colleges" he explained ""The Chancellor had an opportunity to rectify this in his Budget but chose not to. This is an outrageous situation. Parents, teachers and MPs, many within the Conservative Party, will not stand by and allow this to happen."
See also previous Salford Star article - Broughton to be the 36th worst hit area in the country for education cuts – click here