Schools across Yorkshire could lose more than £312m from their budgets with up to 8,378 teachers facing the axe under an education funding shake-up, unions have warned.
The Government proposals for a national funding formula are claimed to tackle a “postcode lottery” in school funding and include extra cash to take account of sparsity – measuring the number of pupils and distance from neighbouring schools.
But teachers’ unions analysis, based on information for almost 20,000 schools published as part of the national funding formula consultation, indicates 99 per cent of schools will face cuts in funding – with schools in Yorkshire facing an average reduction of £442 per pupil.
The Department for Education says funding is at record levels.
However, a total of £312,372,873 may be cut from budgets of the region’s schools, with MPs, headteachers and union leaders expressing major concerns about the future of education.
One Yorkshire Dales school is cutting a class and is being forced to restructure, while a headteacher in Sheffield has warned that schools face a “bleak financial future”, caused by the proposed changes.
MPs based in some of the hardest-hit areas, which include Bradford, Leeds and Kirklees, are now calling for the Government to re-think the plans, over fears children’s education will suffer.
Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland said: “These cuts are nothing short of an attack on the education of our young people.
“The Government’s approach to education is driven purely by ideology, not by what is best for the development of young people in Leeds, in Yorkshire and across the country.
“It is demanding that schools do more with less. It’s an impossible situation and grossly unfair to teachers who already face unrealistic workloads and pressure.
“The Government needs to drop its ideologically driven push towards an outdated grammar school system and instead invest in current schools and pupils.
“I will continue to campaign for a fairer, more realistic funding model for schools and call on the Government not to treat our children’s education as a social experiment.”
The Education Policy Institute claims the average secondary school will lose almost £300,000 each, while primary schools could lose out on more than £70,000.
But a website set up by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), which is supported by four other education unions, suggests the cost could be even higher.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. The Government’s £3bn real terms cut to education funding must be reversed or we will see education and care suffer.
“A new funding formula is the right thing to do, but it cannot be truly fair unless there is enough money to go round in the first place.”