This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SecEd The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Inside this issue

Languages and transition

Schools under pressure to carry out major cuts

Issue 270 • January 13 2011 Price £1.00

Jobs on the line as schools face up to real-terms cuts of five per cent by Dorothy Lepkowska

We visit three schools where languages are being used to help students at key transition points in their school careers Pages 8 and 9

02 Learn: The best of the best

02 Learn is a video-sharing website offering rewards for teachers who upload the best lesson ideas and resources Page 10

Celebrating RE

Celebrating RE month in March aims to showcase the very best practice in the subject Page 7

SecEd digital 16625_ATL_Sec Ed AD 277x50 AW:Layout 1 11/1/11 12:27 Page 1

and Twitter Thousands of teachers are reading SecEddigital, a virtual edition of SecEd, which is emailed out every week. You can sign up for free by emailing SecEd news and features are now also available on Twitter. You can follow us at www.

going to be difficult times ahead. What is clear now is that there will be major cuts in many schools when the budgets are announced, which will include job cuts, the discontinuation of various schemes and initiatives and less funding for the upkeep and maintenance of buildings. This will impact heavily on already squeezed budgets.

Headteachers are being warned to expect swingeing budget cuts and are being urged to plan ahead to make huge savings, after new figures show a record number of schools are financially in the red. According to statistics published

by the Department for Education (DfE) last week, almost a fifth of secondary schools – 18.4 per cent – have a deficit budget, with an aver- age debt of £192,525. This is the equivalent of four or five teachers’ annual salaries. Of the 3,214 maintained sec-

ondary schools in England, 591 showed deficit budgets. Overall, out of 21,719 maintained schools, 1,968 – or 9.1 per cent – were in the red. The figures show that second- ary schools are finding it harder to balance the books than primaries. Brian Lightman, general secre-

tary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the fig- ures painted “a very gloomy pic- ture” with little prospect of long- term improvement. “Schools have been seeing

things grinding to a halt for some time now as various grants have been reduced or absorbed into the dedicated schools budget,” he explained. “We always knew there were

Excessive school balances are

not currently allowed by the gov- ernment. These schools had an average excess of £67,681, but in total were holding on to a surplus of £407 million. Chris Keates, general secretary

of the NASUWT, said the number of school deficits represented a “very complicated picture”, which included falling rolls in many schools. However, she was more con-

cerned about the levels of surplus- es in those schools hanging on to reserves for a rainy day. She told SecEd: “I do not

understand why money for chil- dren’s education is not being spent on the purpose for which it is intended, and the public has a right to ask questions as to why this is. “We fear this situation will

“For some schools, it will mean

cuts in real terms of about five per cent. This will lead to increased class sizes, reduced curriculum choice, and a reduction in teaching materials including ICT. Schools will make every effort to minimise the direct impact on young people’s education but these cuts are bound to have a negative impact on all students.” School governors are required

by law to set a balanced budget that keeps schools in the black, and they cannot plan deliberately to go into debt. Those that do are obliged to

draw up a recovery plan which is approved by the local authority. With staff salaries taking up to

90 per cent of school budgets, many heads are already considering job losses, Mr Lightman said.

He continued: “You can only

tweak around the edges so much, and we are reaching a point now where some very difficult decisions will have to be made. “We advise headteachers to start

looking ahead and preparing for what is to come. Heads and gov- ernors need to plan ahead and pri- oritise. Changes to the way schools are funded will see some grants subsumed into dedicated school budgets. “It will be up to heads to decide

how to spend that money as it will no longer be ring-fenced. It is very likely some initiatives will disap- pear as schools try to keep their heads above water.” The DfE said that the figures

were for 2009/10, while Labour was still in power, and added that similar numbers of schools had been in

deficit at various times during suc- cessive Labour governments. At the same time, the statistics

revealed that thousands of schools were continuing to squirrel away millions of pounds of unspent sur- plus cash. More than £400 million was left

sitting in school bank accounts in 2009/10. However, the number of schools

holding on to excessive balances had dropped since the previous year, suggesting that schools were dipping into reserves ahead of fund- ing cuts. The DfE statistics show that

6,014, or 27.7 per cent, of schools had “excessive balances”, which is defined as more than eight per cent of the budget for primary and special schools, and five per cent of the budget for secondary schools.

become even worse as this gov- ernment hands more autonomy to schools, particularly when it comes to their spending.” A DfE spokesman added:

“Every school should be working continuously to improve its finan- cial management, including effec- tive budget planning, to ensure it continues to deliver effectively for its pupils. “That is why we announced in

the White Paper that we would be removing the requirement for local authorities to have a claw- back mechanism. “We will be reviewing guid-

ance on claw-back arrangements including on the level of balances deemed to be excessive, and we intend to consult on further changes to arrangements.”

• See page 6: SecEd on your Side. (How will you choose your education union?)

Qualifying in 2011 or already an NQ?ATL is the only union to offer dedicated NQ newsletters, interactive website and discounted Masters through Edge Hill University. Our publications will help you create your CV, give you interview tips plus advice on how to meet pupils’ parents and manage classroom behaviour.

Join ATL and receive FREE membership until 2013 and half price until 2014 Visit or call 0845 057 7000*

Terms and conditions available online. *Local rates apply. UK news n SecEd: On Your Side n NQT Diary n Independent thinking n Union address n Managing ICT n At the chalkface


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16