Heads say Birmingham schools ‘stripped to the bone’ after latest cuts

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CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Birmingham Mail

Birmingham schools face being ‘stripped to the bone’ by the government’s so-called ‘fairer funding formula’ a city head has claimed, the Birmingham Mail reports.

The city’s schools stand to lose £20.1m a year under the government’s new fairer funding formula which redistributes education spending from large urban areas to rural and county schools.

All but seven of the 400 schools will see their budgets cut – with many secondary schools losing sums of between £100,000 and £225,000.

Andy Bird, who is chief executive of the Fairfax Mutli-Academy Trust chain of schools, said that providing a quality education is becoming increasingly difficult in the face of government cuts.

Mr Bird oversees Fairfax Academy in Sutton Coldfield which is set to lose £169,000, Bournville School losing £116,000 and Erdington Academy, gaining £56,000, under the Department for Education proposals.

How much would your school lose (or gain) under the government’s proposed funding formula?

He said that the new formula arrives on top of an eight per cent real-terms cut in school funding by 2020.

“Whilst I appreciate the public sector has to find efficiency savings, continuous funding cuts are leaving us literally stripped to the bone.

“To compound matters further, we now also discover the new funding formula will see Birmingham schools being hit particularly hard in what can only be described as a funding postcode lottery.

“Providing pupils with a quality education is becoming an increasing challenge with too much of our time being diverted from concentrating on what matters to instead trying to make ends meet.

“Our children only get one shot of their education – how can you put a price on that?”

Waverley School in Bordesley Green will lose £222,000 from its £7.5m annual budget. Principal Kamal Hanif said that while he recognises some rural areas were previously disadvantaged due to smaller class sizes, he doesn’t not believe Birmingham schools should be cut.

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“It is concerning that we might be losing funding. Through deprivation and school expansions our schools are already facing difficulties. They should bring other school budgets up, raise the benchmark, not make these cuts,” he said.

Birmingham City Council’s Labour education chief Brigid Jones accused the government of piling further misery on the city.

“We are looking at the figures in detail but what we do know is that the vast majority – all but seven – of Birmingham’s 400 plus schools will, as predicted, lose out to this new formula. This is yet another funding cut on an already under-pressure city and its services when we are already dealing with huge and sustained cuts to our council budget.”