Primary school headteachers issue warning about finances

Credit: PA

Primary headteachers in Bristol are warning their school finances are in a 'critical, very serious or serious' state.

It comes as the government considers controversial changes to the amount of money they give all state schools, known as the funding formula.

In a survey of primary headteachers in the city, more than 60% of responders revealed deep concerns for the current budget at their schools.

And 92% expect their financial position in three years’ time to be “critical, very serious or serious”.

What do you forecast as your financial position in 3 years? Credit: Primary Heads' Association Bristol

In the past 12 months more than half of the heads surveyed said they have reduced the number of support staff, increased the workload of existing staff and cut spending on IT, equipment or books and training.

In the next 12 months, more than half of heads say they will be adding cuts to pastoral care, building maintenance, reduction of school trips and visits, and reductions to leadership capacity.

And 54% of heads expect to be unable to replace teaching staff who leave. Over one-third of heads think they will face making redundancies.

Credit: Primary Heads' Association Bristol

It is inevitable that the size and pace of these cuts to funding will impact negatively on education. Levels of attainment are under threat and staff are being put under pressure that may lead them to leave the profession.

Laurence Pitt, Chair of the Bristol Primary Heads Association

The Department for Education says redistributing money more equally across all state schools will be fairer but head teachers argue they need more money just to maintain their current curriculum and staffing levels.

Some reports have hinted that a possible U-turn by Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening, a development that's been given a cautious welcome in the West.

The current proposals would means cuts in funding which would be unacceptable and damaging for many schools. However, whilst we welcome the consideration being given to our views, we would still highlight the fact that educational funding needs further investment. Whatever formula is arrived at, it will still not solve the issues without appropriate funding.

Jamie Barry, headteacher of Parson Street Primary School in Bedminster, Bristol