This week I have formally submitted my response to the consultation regarding proposed changes to the school funding formula.
On behalf of the many headteachers who have contacted me and who are deeply worried about the impact of the proposals, I made the following submission:
'Schools in Greater Manchester are set to lose almost £175 million in real terms by 2019 if the proposed changes to the funding formula go ahead. 86 headteachers from across Great Manchester have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister to highlight their serious concerns about the impact of the proposals on teaching and learning in their schools and I am sure that many more will have submitted individual responses to this consultation.
In recent weeks I have been contacted by headteachers in my constituency who are desperately worried about the impact of these huge cuts.
Indicative modelling prepared by Rochdale Council and based on current pupil data shows that Primary and Secondary schools in our borough face a loss of £1.8 million, however this is exacerbated by the already rising cost pressures schools are facing. Over the past few years the funding for schools collectively has remained flat and schools have been required to absorb these rising costs. National teaching unions have estimated that these pressures could mean the actual cost to Rochdale schools of the new funding proposals is around £16 million.
In the words of one Primary school headteacher who contacted me:
‘Schools like mine will be forced into deficits or to make devastating cuts to the quality of our provision and as a result children will fail in learning and also in their development, as well as devastating ‘early help’. There are no more efficiencies that we can find, having done all that already, so I know that the next round of cuts will affect teaching and learning. As this is our core purpose I am extremely concerned. The changes to the Early Years funding formula also affects us so we are significantly damaged by this proposal.’
I urge the government to think again about the proposals and to listen to the headteachers and governors who know best how their schools and their pupils will be affected and who have serious, legitimate concerns about the impact of these changes.'