Lancaster and Morecambe headteachers call ‘crisis’ meeting

Sam Ud-din
Sam Ud-din

A public meeting in Lancaster this month will address the “crisis” in the district’s school funding.

Several speakers will be addressing a public meeting at Lancaster Town Hall on Monday, March 27 from 7pm, to highlight major concerns that schools are set to lose teachers while having to deal with bigger class sizes.

Organisers The Lancaster, Morecambe and District Primary Headteachers Cluster expect a larger crowd than the over 200 who came to a public meeting last Spring focusing on assessment.

The organisation has predicted that school budget cuts in real terms meaning an average loss of £440 per child across the district, equivalent to the loss of around 200 teachers.

Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher at Morecambe Bay Community Primary School, said the meeting has been called in response to “the biggest cuts to school funding in a generation”.

She said: “The truth is that most schools have been making efficiency savings and spending from reserves to cover the gap in funding for some years now and there is simply nothing left to cut without reducing staffing levels, training for staff and resources in the classrooms.

“The end result of this across the District will be larger class sizes, less support for vulnerable children, less potential to work to support children and their families, higher levels of exclusion and a reduction in standards.

“We are hoping that as many people as possible attend the meeting in order that they may more fully understand the funding crisis within our schools and the impact that this will have on our children and young people, their families and the staff in our schools.”

Sam Ud-Din, Lancashire Division Secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the issue has not been resolved.

In addition, school funding has reached a crisis point due to it having remained cash static per pupil for several years already.

Mr Ud-Din said: “This government’s funding means inflation has eroded, and will continue to erode for the rest of this Parliament, every school’s ability to afford to cover real and ever-increasing costs.

“Every school is looking to see where it can cut spending.

“That will have to mean fewer teaching assistants (TAs) supporting children, fewer teachers teaching them, larger class sizes, more stress for pupils, parents and staff – whilst there is still turmoil in inappropriate assessment and curriculum changes.

“This deliberate damage to the national education system is bringing more and more voices together demanding that the government listens and changes course.”

Speakers at the meeting include Prof Gemma Moss from UCL, Institute of Education, Robert Kelsall, senior regional official Birmingham, NAHT, Ruth Ainsworth from Lancaster and Morecambe Parents Defending Education, Kevin Courtney, National General Secretary for the NUT, and Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher at Morecambe Bay Community Primary School.