Award winning academy warns funding cuts will affect results

Tristram Hunt visits Tapton School.

Tristram Hunt visits Tapton School.

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AN ACADEMY which has twice won awards from the Department for Education has written to Nicky Morgan warning that it will be forced to cut teaching jobs and courses without more funding.

In the past year Tapton Academy, in Sheffield, has won Government awards for its use of pupil premium funding for students from poor backgrounds and for its character education.

It was also named the Sunday Times inaugural Comprehensive of the Year in 2014. The school says it has “embraced all the innovations and opportunities of the coalition government.”

However the school’s co-head teachers Claire Tasker and David Dennis wrote to Mrs Morgan warning that its success “would be in jeopardy” if the Conservatives won the election because of a lack of funding.

The letter to the Education Secretary said: “Next year we are facing an in-year deficit of £450,000. We have already made drastic cuts to our curriculum offer, sacrificing breadth at both GCSE and A-level, but that is not enough. To balance the budget we will need to further increase class sizes, lose support staff and teaching staff and reduce the curriculum offer further.”

It also attacks the Government for criticism of the teaching profession. It said: “Thanks to the repeated attacks on public servants (and teachers in particular) by this government, parents will criticize and attack our decisions; often unaware that we have no choice. The truth about the slashing of funding for schools and the impact of pension and National Insurance increases has been shrouded beneath the spin of ‘more money than ever is going into schools.”

The letter said the teachers that stay in school and in the profession will be crippled by the workload of increased class sizes and reduced planning, preparation and assessment time.

It adds: “Most importantly of all, the educational outcomes of our students will not improve. In all likelihood we will watch them decline.” The letter was also sent to Labour’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt who visited the school, which is in the Sheffield Hallam constituency being defended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as a result. Mr Hunt said: “The head teachers at Tapton School are right to be worried about the ramifications of another five years of Tory-led government, not least because David Cameron is pledging to cut education funding in real terms if he remains Prime Minister.

“Labour will protect education spending from early years right through to further education, and we’ll back and support our teachers to deliver a world-class education to our young people.”

However Mrs Morgan has written back to the school insisting that if elected the Conservatives were committed to spending £590m more compared to Labour over the next five years.

She said this was because Ed Miliband’s proposals do not take into account the rapid expected rise in pupil numbers.

In her letter to the school Mrs Morgan said: “We do recognise that there are budgetary pressures on schools like your own but our protection of the schools budget in a very difficult context should put schools in a good position to manage these challenges.” She said that in the last Parliament spending per pupil had increased by 0.6 per cent in real terms between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

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