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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Mon 15-May-17 09:23:45

“These funding cuts are already affecting my children”

Jazz Basma, a parent and teacher from Bristol, explains why she’s campaigning for Fair Funding for All Schools.

Jazz Basma

Fair Funding For All Schools

Posted on: Mon 15-May-17 09:23:45

(86 comments )

Lead photo

These cuts are already affecting my children and all others who go to the school.

School funding cuts. I'm amazed there are still people who know nothing about them.

£3 billion of cuts is so big, it's somehow unbelievable. The school that my children go to faces cuts of almost £250,000 by 2019; the equivalent of eight teachers' salaries. For a two form entry primary school. Worse still, this isn't a local issue - 99% of pupils in England will be affected (check your school here).

I am hugely frustrated by those who deny these cuts and say that budgets have never been bigger, or that cuts are only in 'real terms'. They're excusing the deterioration of our children’s education.

These cuts are already affecting my children and all others who go to the school.

When my son started there was one teaching assistant per class. The following year there was one assistant per two classes -, and now there are even fewer, to the point that they have to be 'imaginative' about how to deploy them to classes. Schools shouldn't have to be imaginative about staffing; imagination is necessary in lesson planning and teaching, but not this. Music lessons have gone since they just can't be subsidised. Educational trips are all but gone. The school holds regular MUFTI days, in school cinema, even a sleepover - all to raise funds for basics they shouldn't have to fundraise for. You can see the cuts everywhere, like cancelling activities and events due to staffing shortages.

It's heart-breaking to watch your child's education slowly deteriorate. Education should be - and would be - improving, if funded properly. This is my children's only chance. They don't get to relive their school experience, and if these cuts go ahead it will be a bleak and depressing time for them, for their teachers and for a mum who just wants the best for her children.

It's heart-breaking to watch your child's education slowly deteriorate.


Inadequate school funding is leading to reduced support and staff in my children's school. What will it do to yours?

Maybe they will reduce the number of teachers and increase class size? Perhaps they'll reduce the curriculum so they don't need specialist teachers? They may replace all teachers leaving with NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) on fixed contracts, then repeat on a yearly basis. Who can afford to recruit and retain experienced teachers with huge cuts on the horizon? Days of art, music and pottery will be gone. Creativity will be a distant memory and school trips barely in existence. At a time when mental health issues in children are rising, I can only see funding cuts compounding this issue.

Our children need a balanced experience to develop and grow. They need a broad and balanced curriculum, and to see an equal focus on the Arts as well as Maths, English and Science. They need the opportunity to explore who they are, what they want to do and be and see, to be confident, well-educated and well-rounded people. This does not come from a restricted curriculum, less support and a stripped-back education due to funding cuts.

The Fair Funding campaign is doing a great job spreading awareness. It's made me realise that I won't just watch this educational car crash, but will join thousands of other parents in fighting the cuts and insisting that education be funded properly.

I am helping to spread the word of this education crisis in Bristol as part of the 'Fair Funding for Schools – Bristol' campaign. I want to know that I have done as much as I can to stop this madness and secure my children a properly-funded education. I am their voice - and you are the voice of your children.

If nothing else inspires you to shout as loudly as you can that the cuts to education funding must stop, then your children and the children in your community should. Please sign the petitions, go to local meetings – or set your own up, join in the March against school budget cuts on Saturday 20th May and send a clear message that we will NOT accept it. Our children deserve better, and we, as their voices, will always fight for them.

The Bristol Fair Funding Meeting will take place at Parson St School on Tuesday May 16th.

Parents across the country are also joining together at protests, picnics and gatherings on the afternoon of Friday 26th May. Find out more at the Fair Funding for all website and Facebook page.

By Jazz Basma

Twitter: @jazzbasma

TeeGee123 Mon 15-May-17 13:09:48

So pleased to see this. A lot of parents are oblivious. The cuts are huge and starting to bite right now. A school near me just announced layoffs of several teachers and TAs. My son's primary school is working through their budget now and it looks like the same will happen there.
If you care about your kids' education get informed and sign up to your local Fair Funding For All Schools campaign (and if there isn't one, start it yourself).

Jojay Mon 15-May-17 16:08:38

The link telling you to 'check your school here' leads to a US site.

fridaynight Mon 15-May-17 16:11:00

Same situation here in Sussex with TAs being laid off. It so affects our kids as my Son has tons of extra help but he doesn't have a statement so how much longer will this continue ?
Parent power is the only thing that can make a difference here, we all need to get active ....

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 16:16:59

Jojay the website is schoolcuts.org.uk it's missing the .uk - I've met them know, thanks for posting. Jazz Basma

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 16:17:53

Let*

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 16:20:46

It's affecting everyone. As you know your son will get less support, those statemented won't be funded as much as they need so schools will be expected to somehow make up the shortfall. The situation is critical. Do you have a local Fair Funding group? Jazz Basma

Dauphinois Mon 15-May-17 16:36:05

The school cuts website doesn't give the full picture though, does it?

It tells me that my school is due to lose a teacher.( name changed for this)

This isn't happening, far from it. Due to small increases in pupil numbers, income from preschool and wrap around care and renegotiating key contracts for things like energy, we're actually recruiting.

A number of schools around us seem to be massively top heavy in leadership and management - one form entry primary schools who have non teaching deputies, business managers, inclusion managers, learning support managers and who knows what else, none of whom ever teach, not even to cover absence or training. Buying in supply to cover when you have 3-4 qualified teachers, who are not actually teaching, in the building seems bonkers to me.

I absolutely agree that losing TA's and teaching staff has to be wrong but in my experience some schools seem to have odd priorities when it comes to deciding what to spend their money on.

DeleteOrDecay Mon 15-May-17 16:49:30

My dd's school announced in the school news letter that their budget will decrease in value by approx £96k in a couple of years along with a list of how they will try and reduce the impact these budget cuts will have on the children's education including reducing the number of TA's and lunch time staff (along with other things). It's very sad and I do worry for my dc's future.

nong45 Mon 15-May-17 17:15:45

I posted about this a week or two ago because it seems such a huge issue and yet I hadn't seen anyone on Mumsnet posting about it. Our school is losing 15 teachers and £650 less per pupil next year. No music provision at all now and shrinking arts provisions generally.

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 18:22:10

Dauphinois - many schools don't want to be see as 'losing money' for fear parents will choose other schools - there was a good article about this here I will try to find the link. Also whilst some schools may be in a position to recruit or absorb these cuts short term it is unsustainable and certainly not the position many schools are in. Education must be adequately funded.

123rd Mon 15-May-17 18:22:33

I wrote to my local MP( Tory angry) who wrote back with the usual crap about how school funding had been ring fenced- & actually increased if you look at premium pupil funding and other such bull.
I didn't actually care about his reply , as I can see how the cuts are impacting in a daily basis. I just wanted my concern noted. There must be someone of record of what people are writing to their MPs about.

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 18:23:38

Nong45 - is that a secondary school? It's such a huge number of staff - and first to go will be support and the arts. Horrifying isn't it. (Jazz Basma)

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 18:25:37

123rd - glad you can see past all the cover up to the actual situation unfolding in front of you. Is there a Fair Funding group near you? Have you checked schoolcuts.org.uk to see how much they look to lose? (Jazz Basma)

BorisTrumpsHair Mon 15-May-17 19:09:26

Our primary School teachers are striking 2 days this week. sad. London.

Governors are trying to "restructure" the first step was to get s super head, 2nd step involves laying 3 staff off.

123rd Mon 15-May-17 19:19:28

My eldest is at HS, they are set to lose 15 teachers and over £450 pp
PS that feeds the high is set to lose 4 teaching staff.
Trips & extra curricular activities in both schools have definitely taken a nose dive. Such a shame as I think those things make a school- more so than sodding sats

Lucienne1 Mon 15-May-17 19:31:57

Our schools in Hackney will be devastated by the cuts. There's going to be £26 million less by 2019 (£914 less per pupil). Parents are worried and we're getting together to do something about it, we've been running school meetingS, putting banners up outside schools, posters in our windows, petition signing at local markets and parks and we're planning public events on the 26th May. It sounds organised but it's not, just a lot of us each doing a bit. Parents voices can be very powerful. Our kids only get one chance at their education, we've got to make sure it counts.

Dauphinois Mon 15-May-17 19:48:14

MissMina - I work at the school and have seen the projected budget for the next 3 years. There are no cuts I can assure you.

I'm just trying to reinforce the point that the school cuts website does not give the whole picture and can be unnecessarily alarming to parents, that's all.

lifeisazebracrossing Mon 15-May-17 20:28:26

My school has lost 5 teachers per year for the past three years, with plans to continue, as is the sabe situation in other local schools. It is completely impossible to sustain quality education with these cuts.

MissMina Mon 15-May-17 20:38:39

Dauphinois - would be interested to know which school is facing no cuts at all... feel free to DM me on Twitter @FFFSchoolsBris if you don't want to post publicly - also I would suggest that even if anecdotally your school is fine - this is a national issue and no one should lose out. People are seeing these cuts - staff not replaced, contracts not renewed, less TA support, fewer trips etc. (Jazz Basma)

AdultHumanFemale Mon 15-May-17 20:56:46

We cannot afford to replace the teachers who are leaving at the end of this academic year. We too are having to be 'imaginative' with staffing. One chance at education, that's it.
Dauphinois, my friend works in financial auditing for schools in my LA and is horrified by the hurdles schools face in the light of education cuts. Sure, you occasionally find ineffective management structures in organisations, but I really don't think they are the norm, and it certainly doesn't mean that the cuts are not real for schools other than your own.

TraineeSLT Mon 15-May-17 20:58:37

Dauphinois - a projected budget could be very different to what you will actually get.

In Oxfordshire, we know of a primary school in Oxford that has had to cut all music lessons. We know of a secondary school in Abingdon where a German teacher is leaving and not being replaced so there is no longer A level German offered at that school.

On average, every school is going to lose 8% due to rising costs. Those levels of cuts, that's what they are, will result in people losing their jobs. These cuts are already, and will continue, to affect the life chances and wellbeing of children. We need to work together as parents and carers to try to stop further cuts and properly invest in education.

admission Mon 15-May-17 21:32:31

Sorry to pick on you traineeSLT but you are the last post and are making statements that are not correct. "On average, ever school is going to lose 8% due to rising costs" is not correct. Yes over the next 3 financial years schools have expected increases in costs of 8% if they do nothing but that is not the same as an 8% cut, they will receive the same £ as currently until the new national funding formula is introduced. Some judicious trimming of budgets will allow schools to find the 3% annual cuts necessary. An example may well be your german teacher. If you have a secondary school and only say 3 pupils are taking "a" level german then it is completely uneconomic and a way round it has to be found. That may be arranging with another local secondary school to share a teacher for example, which would be a saving of circa £20K between the two schools with all add on costs. There are ways and means, as Dauphinois says to try and help reduce this problem.
The new national funding formula is another totally separate issue where the powers that be have come up with a new funding formula, the basis of which is sound but the detail of which is wrong and is going to cause some real hardship with real cuts not imaginary future cuts. Hopefully it will not be introduced in its present form in 2018/19.

Middleoftheroad Mon 15-May-17 21:33:28

schoolsweek.co.uk/first-they-came-for-the-teaching-assistants/

I'm not a TA but I really feel for them after reading this.

Agree that some secondaries are 'top heavy'. I know of one head hoping that one SLT member who is now 60 odd will retire as they will not be replacing the role yet their salary is somewhere around £60k and that will be a saving. Conversely, they had to reduce some TA hours.

It is a sad state and I don't think all headlines are sensationlist. Tough decisions are being made and the kids will ultimately miss out. There is much to be said for parent power. Let's hope we can do something to stop this travesty.

TraineeSLT Mon 15-May-17 22:03:19

Admission - I think inflation, rising national insurance and pension contribution costs will affect every school. I don't consider potentially making TAs and teachers redundant as 'judicious trimming of budgets'.

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