A wide-ranging survey of school headteachers across Bury has revealed the scale of cuts to schools in the borough and the damaging impact these cuts are having on the education of our children, as new national figures show that £6.6 million will be cut from Bury's schools by 2020.
The survey, conducted by Bury North MP James Frith, was sent to every headteacher in Bury and was completed by almost half of all schools in the borough.
The headline results reveal some worrying figures.
On pupil numbers, 65% of Bury schools say pupil numbers have risen since 2015.
On staffing levels:
- Three quarters of Bury schools say they have been forced to make staff cuts due to funding pressures
- 79% say teacher numbers have stayed the same or fallen
- 38% report cuts in the number of teaching assistants
- 72% say the number of special educational needs staff has stayed the same or fallen
- 62% say the number of administrative support staff has stayed the same or fallen
On cuts to other resources:
- 84% have cut spending on books and equipment
- 56% have cut special educational needs provision
- 72% have cut external student support (eg mentoring and addressing challenging behaviour)
- 68% have cut teacher training
- 56% have cut extra-curricular activities
A large majority of schools reported plans to make further cuts to the above over the next two years due to continuing funding pressures.
Overall, 88% of Bury schools are dissatisfied with current funding levels.
Many headteachers sent alarming testimonials with their survey responses. One head said: “I do not have the necessary funds to support some of our most vulnerable children.” Another said: “We will have no option in the next few years but to look at staff redundancies in order to avoid a deficit budget. The impact on students will be huge.” A third reported that: “Every budget in school is trimmed to the bone.”
Bury North MP James Frith, who will be using the results of the survey to challenge the Secretary of State for Education when he comes before the Education Select Committee next week, said:
“The results of this survey reveal the devastating impact of cuts on our schools and the really tough choices headteachers are having to make to keep the lights on and provide the best standard of education possible for our children.
“The Government is telling people that school funding is going up but the figures make clear that our school are losing money, not gaining it, and are having to reduce staff and resources as a result.
“I will be bringing the results of this survey to the Education Select Committee and demanding answers from the Secretary of State. I will continue to champion our schools and demand fair funding for all.”
Figures from the school cuts campaign show that £6.6 million will be cut from Bury schools by 2020, with 73/74 schools across the borough set to be worse off in 2020 than they were in 2015.
Find out the impact of cuts on your local school at schoolcuts.org.uk