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Bath and North East Somerset headteachers write to parents to warn of school funding crisis

They're asking parents to join a protest and sign a petition.

Head teachers and CEOs of more than 70 schools in Bath and North East Somerset – almost every school in the area – have sent letters home to pupils’ parents, carers and families towarn them about the lack of funding facing schools and the ‘tough decisions’ they are having to make as a consequence.

The letters will be sent to more than 25,000 homes.

They warn that funding shortages will mean bigger class sizes, fewer teaching assistants and support staff, inadequate support for children with additional needs, from SEN to mental health support, and less funding for equipment, training and activities to promote a broad and balanced curriculum.

The letters invite parents and pupils to take part in a ‘protest picnic’ on Saturday 8th June at the Royal Crescent in Bath, encouraging them to bring drums to bang out ‘SOS’ in Morse code.

Protestors will meet at Queen Square at noon, with a march at 12.30pm, before joining the protest picnic at the Royal Crescent at 1pm.

The letter also asks parents to sign a petition to local MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Wera Hobhouse: https://www.change.org/p/jacob-rees-mogg-schools-are-in-crisis-over-lack-of-funding.

The letters say:

“This is directly affecting our schools now. Schools in Bath and NE Somerset (BANES) are experiencing unprecedented cuts to school budgets. Between 2013/14 and 2018/19 spending per child in BANES schools is down in real terms by -8.8% in Bath Constituency and -6.7% in NE Somerset¹; while pupil numbers and costs have gone up.

“Our priority is to provide your children with the best education we can, and we are working hard with our teams to cope. But we are reaching breaking point and we are now being forced to take really tough decisions.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The government has acknowledged that school budgets are under pressure, and that schools are expected to do more. They also acknowledge these new demands cost more money than before. They also cannot have failed to notice the steady procession of school leaders, governors, parents andothers campaigning for more money for schools. It is therefore utterly inexplicable that they have failed to act. Only new money from the Treasury can solve the school funding crisis.”

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, and long-standing supporter of the campaign, said: “I don’t know how many times I’ve shouted about this in the streets alongside teachers, and alongside my colleagues in Westminster. The government just say, ‘we’ve spent more money on schools this year than last year’, which is completely disingenuous. They are intentionally hiding behind willfully out of context figures. The bottom line is our children’s education is suffering. Not only is this government completely incapable of doing anything positive in our society, but they are actively ignoring the problems. Please join us on the 8th June so we can collectively drag their heads out of the sand.”

John Snell, head teacher of Welton Primary School, said: “The underfunding of schools is unjust and immoral. Society will look back in a few years and think, why did we allow that tohappen?”

Julie Hogan, head teacher of Paulton Infants School, said: “The system is broken, and our young people are being systematically failed by the generation who should be nurturing, educating and empowering them. Without adequate funding, resources to meet the needs ofour children, the future looks very bleak indeed.”

Damian Knollys, head teacher of Peasedown St John Primary, said: “The Government has failed to understand that education is an investment in the country’s future, not simply a cost on a balance sheet.”

Joe Beament, head teacher of St. Saviour’s Junior School in Bath, said: “There is significant pressure on school budgets, schools across Bath and the country are making difficult decisions. These choices are having an impact on the quality of education we offer the children as we are forced to reduce resources and teacher assistant time and consider increases in class sizes or even closing early. Teachers and school staff have always gone that extra mile; we see the children every day, we put in the extra hours and work ‘above andbeyond’ to support the children, giving them the very best experiences and education. However, without adequate funding the offer to the children will reduce and the pressure on school staff will increase. The Government’s misleading ‘sound bites’ are a smoke screen tothe reality of school finances.”

 

In response, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “Under the National Funding Formula, funding for schools in Bath & NE Somerset has increased by 7.6% per pupil this year, compared to 2017-18.

"This amounts to an extra £9.3m when rising pupil numbers are taken into account, and is well above the national average per pupil increase of 3.2%.

“While there is more money going into our schools than ever before we know schools face budgeting challenges, which is why we have introduced a wide range of support to help schools reduce costs and get the best value from their resources – from a free-to-use vacancy service to cut the costs of recruiting teachers, to advisors who are providing expert help and support to individual schools that need it.

“The Secretary of State has made clear that as we approach the next spending review, he will back head teachers to have the resources they need to deliver a world class education.”

 

The letter has been signed by the following school leaders:

Palladian Trust:

Tim Withers (CEO)

Oldfield Park Juniors

Ralph Allen School

Combe Down

Oldfield Park Infants

St. Martin’s Garden

St. Philip’s

Widcombe Jnrs.

Widcombe Infants

 

Wellsway MAT:

Andrea Arlidge (CEO)

Chandag Junior School

Chandag Infant School

Saltford CE Primary School

St. John’s CE Primary School (Keynsham)

The Bath Studio School

IKB Academy

Wellsway School

Aspire Academy

 

MSNP:

Alun Williams (CEO)

Damian Knollys – Peasedown St. John Primary

John Snell – Welton Primary

Alun Randell – Midsomer Norton Primary 

Mark Everett – Writhlington School

Bruce Hain - Mendip Studio School

Ruth Noall - St Julians Church School andShoscombe Church School

Liz Ennew – Clutton Primary

Dan Turull - Farrington Gurney Primary

Gareth Griffith - High Littleton

Kerrie Courtier -  Longvernal Primary

Claire Mirams - St. John’s (MSN)

Simon Mills – Westfield Primary

Michelle Parsons - Trinity Church School and

Dundry CE Primary

Andrew Davies - Beechen Cliff School

Gordon Green - Norton Hill School

Jo Postlethwaite - Somervale School

 

Bath Spa University

Pat Black - Teacher Training

 

Bath & Wells Diocesan MAT:

Philip Bowditch (CEO)

Thomas Brewer – Bathampton

Sally Jefferies – Batheaston

Karen Sykes - Bathford

Kevin Purkiss – Bathwick St. Mary

Andrew Wishart – Freshford

Jayne Rochford-Smith - St. Andrew’s

Joe Beament - St. Saviour’s Juniors

Ed Harker - St. Saviour’s Infants

Andy Bowman - St. Stephen’s Primary

Clare Greene - St. Michael’s Juniors

 

Lighthouse Trust:

Gary Lewis (CEO)

Dieter Cook – Bishop Sutton Primary andStanton Drew Primary

Gareth Beynon – Chew Valley School

 

Maintained School HTs:

Andy Tarrant - St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Nicola Smith - St. Nicholas Primary

Julie Hogan - Paulton Infants School

George Samios - Twerton Infants & Nursery School

Carl Hornsby – Whitchurch Primary

Gill Kennaugh – Newbridge Primary

Grant Swarbrooke – Swainswick Primary

Barnaby Ash – St. Mark’s School

Steve Gumm – St. Keyna Primary

Cathie Lampert – St. Mary’s Primary, Writhlington

Alice Brown – St. Mary’s Primary, Timsbury

Angela Bennett – St. John’s Catholic Primary

Ann Cusack – St. Gregory’s Catholic College, Bath

Chris Cannings - Castle Primary School

Hannah Maggs - Cameley CofE Primary School

Annie Spencer - Chew Magna Primary School

Warrick Barton - Pensford Primary School 

 

Standalone Academies

Ben Hewett - Chew Stoke Church School

Emma Yates – Hayesfield

Steve Mackay – Oldfield School

 

Bath and Mendip Partnership Trust:

David Gregory (CEO)

Anne Bull - Abbot Alphege Academy andWASPS 

Darren Roberts - Farmborough Church School

Emily Massey - Fosse Way School 

Julie Player - Marksbury CofE Primary School 

Georgina Scott  - Moorlands Schools Federation (Infant and Primary School) :

Sue Adams - Roundhill Primary School

 

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