Issue 33 — October 1995
School warns of more cuts
Parents of children at St Barnabas School are being
warned of a new round of education cuts next year. As the new academic year
gets underway, the school has already had to cut spending by £10,000.
It could have been worse. At one point, governors were facing the loss of a teacher and a reduction from six classes to five. They managed to avoid the crisis by using up money from the school reserves and qualifying for extra funds because of the rising number of pupils.
Governors are worried that they won't be so lucky next time. With the Government's refusal to increase the amount spent on education, or fund the teachers' pay award of 2.7%, education authorities have been forced to cut their schools budget. In Oxfordshire that has meant a 7% reduction in spending.
At the beginning of this year, the effect on St Barnabas was a cut in spending of just over 6.5% - around £25,000. At a stormy meeting in March, governors were faced with a number of choices. They could have staged a mass resignation in protest, or they could have simply have overspent their budget. In either case the education authority would have taken control of the school. The governors eventually decided to stay put and implement the cuts, rather than let someone else take over.
Luckily, St Barnabas was given a reprieve when the rising number of pupils for this coming year meant it qualified for extra money. Using up most of the school's savings has also cushioned the cuts. However, the school has still had to lose one of the YTS student helpers as well as 55 hours of classroom assistant time. And it also has less money to spend on books and equipment.
Head teacher, Hilary Hiorns, told the Echo: "We are very fortunate in receiving so much support from our parents and governors. Our parents have been wonderful in writing to their MPs and councillors, attending meetings and joining in the protest at County Hall. We are going to need that level of support again next year if, as I think, there will be more cuts."
And she appealed to parents and other concerned residents of Jericho: "We still need you to write to your MPs, councillors and the Government to make sure that education is not cut again".
Tim Handley, St Barnabas