Hackney schools facing devastating funding cuts

Mossbourne Academy is one of the most affected schools in the borough. Pic; Mossbourne Academy

Mossbourne Academy is one of the most affected schools in the borough. Pic; Mossbourne Academy

Hackney schools are set to lose over £11m of their funding in real terms by 2020, according to figures released by the National Audit Office.

Earlier this year, Justine Greening the Secretary of State for Education, unveiled the government’s new funding formula which will affect over 9,000 schools.

The new formula will cause schools to lose funding, with money moving from London and other urban centres that have been well funded in the past to schools in areas that receive less money.

With freezes on school budgets from now until 2020, Hackney will be the biggest borough to suffer losses from cuts. The National Union of Teachers say the proposed government plans could leave schools in Hackney with a funding crisis.

Hackney Green Party are backing the trade unions’ School Cuts campaign to demand action from Parliament to stop these damaging cuts.

In a recent press release, Hackney Green Party spokesman Samir Jeraj said: “We are very concerned about the impact these cuts will have in Hackney. Such vast cuts in real terms cannot fail to have a negative impact on pupils, in a system that is already under pressure.

“These cuts are particularly hard to stomach as the Chancellor announces millions of pounds of funding for free schools and Theresa May’s grammar schools’ vanity project. We must invest more in state education and create an equal system for all.”

Hackney Green’s Press Officer, Heather Hampson told Eastlondonlines: “It’s especially depressing to see that Hackney North and Stoke Newington is the fifth greatest loser of all constituencies in the country when our borough already suffers high levels of children living in poverty and social deprivation.”

Mossbourne Academy is one of the worst affected institutions in the borough with a projected 14 per cent being wiped from its budget by 2020, which amounts to the wages of 23 teachers.

Principal Peter Hughes is already making adjustments to the curriculum and described the cuts as being “extremely hard”. He told ELL: “Cuts are already happening. We used to receive over £400 per student, which further reduced to £190 and is now tens of pounds per pupil.

“As a school we have to operate a curriculum that meets the students’ needs. Some A-Level classes and languages can no longer be taken and we are projected to lose an extra million in the next few years.”

Hackney parent Catherine Maguire is worried about the consequences of further cuts for her children’s school, Benthal Primary. She said: “The school is already juggling increasingly limited resources and has not been able to replace teachers who have left, or employ supply teachers to cover when staff are absent.”

“The government’s cuts will mean that, on top of this, Benthal stands to lose funding which is the equivalent of nearly half its current teaching staff,” Maguire continued. “It is not an exaggeration to say this will be devastating to the school, its children, staff and the local community.

“These cuts will hit schools in the most deprived areas like Hackney the hardest, undoing in one foul swoop the amazing work that has been done over the past 10 years.

“As a parent I just can’t see the fairness or logic in such cruel cuts when the government seems to be able to find money to throw at free schools.”

Marija Milosavljevic, who heads up the parent-led Fair Funding for All Schools campaign, said; “The plans mean taking even more money away from half the schools in the country to give to the other half, while the whole pot keeps shrinking. That’s not fair or sustainable.

“Parents are not going to take this lying down. We are calling on the government to protect per pupil funding in line with manifesto promises and to make sure no school loses out from the national funding formula.”

Hackney MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Public Accounts committee, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh is choosing to open new free schools in areas which do not need them and are failing to fill places.

“This is taxpayers’ money that could be used to fund much needed improvements in thousands of existing school buildings.”

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