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SecEd The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Inside this issue Tackling bullying

Author and teacher Michele Elliott's new book looks at practical ways of tackling bullying. She offers SecEd some insights into the issue Pages 8 and 9

Reports show depth of cuts to education

by Daniel White

Further evidence of how badly the cuts to public spending are hitting schools and young people emerged this week after two reports were published. Research by the National Deaf

Children’s Society (NDCS) has revealed that educational support for deaf children is set to become a postcode lottery with almost one in five local authorities cutting fund- ing.

Meanwhile, a separate report by ICT prize on offer

Your chance to win ICT worth up to £1,895 as SecEd teams up with ePace to give away a year's site licence for its online student profiling tool Page 4

leadership organisation The Key found that 90 per cent of schools are seeing reduced support from local authorities and 66 per cent have seen their budgets cut. The NDCS this week published

a funding map of the country show- ing the extent of the cuts to support for deaf children. In an open letter to education

secretary Michael Gove, NDCS chief executive, Susan Daniels, reminded him that funding for deaf children’s services is protect- ed through the Dedicated Schools Grant, but claimed that there was still a “large number of authorities (that are) making significant reduc- tions to these essential services”. Ms Daniels added that local

Focus on health

The place and health education and PSHE has been a hot topic in Parliament of late. Caroline Voogd reports Page 6

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authority expenditure should be monitored and called for interven- tion and alternative arrangements to be made if there was unsatisfactory provision. The NDCS figures show that

cuts have been made in 28 local authorities with a further 24 at “high risk” of making cuts. It contends that 96 per cent of

the local authorities have not con- sulted parents on the cuts, while 95 per cent of parents are concerned their child’s education will suffer as a result. Among the examples of cuts,

NDCS says that in Stoke-on-Trent, 50 per cent of teachers for the deaf have left in the past two years, while in Thurrock in Essex, one teacher has been left to work alone with nearly 90 children. The letter adds: “Your depart-

ment has committed to protect- ing frontline spending for school children. “The reductions show that,

in many parts of the country, funding for deaf children is not being protected as it should, even though deaf children are already among the most vulnerable and

disadvantaged children in society today. Where this support is being taken away, we clearly risk storing up greater costs for the future as we deal with a legacy of deaf children who are under-achieving.” Meanwhile, the extent to which

school budgets have been cut has been starkly illustrated by lead- ership organisation The Key this week. Its Spring Report gleaned the

views of 1,177 school leaders and found that only 17 per cent of schools are facing an increased budget this year, despite the govern- ment’s claims that education would see an increased budget after the Comprehensive Spending Review last year. Furthermore, nearly half of the

schools that are facing budget cuts said they are considering reducing staff numbers, the report found. It added that nearly three quarters of secondary schools said their gov- erning body would consider con- verting to an academy. SecEd put the findings to a

number of headteachers this week, who responded anonymously. One state school headteacher

told SecEd that things were incred- ibly tight at his school. He explained: “We’re hav-

ing to think carefully now in a £5 million-plus budget about liter- ally every £1,000 spend. We have not had to do this level of scru- tiny before. We have already made redundancies, the Pupil Premium is nowhere near the promised lev- els, and academy status is now a reality discussion for pragmatic financial reasons as well as to wipe-out the school improvement capacity of the local authority.” However, one academy

headteacher said that their budget has also been cut because of the changes to 6th form funding among other things. She said that they could be £100,000 worse off. She explained: “We have

already carried out a re-organisa- tion process that saw five staff ear- marked for redundancy. Two have gone with voluntary severance, one has left, two have gone from full- time to part-time and another is at the appeal process. “I have also terminated all

temporary contracts, made signifi- cant cuts to the support staff and appointed a cover supervisor to try to reduce the use of supply teachers. I can’t see why people would want to convert to an academy now –

Danger zones: This funding map published by the National Deaf Children's Society shows the local authorities which have confirmed cuts to services for deaf children (red), and those where the charity considers there is a high risk of cuts (orange)

other than to protect any surpluses they may have and stop the local authority from clawing them back. There certainly isn’t the level of funding for academies there used to be. “This makes it very difficult

to implement curriculum change. Nine per cent of our students got

the English Baccalaureate last year, if we want to increase this, then I need to employ more histo- ry, geography and French teachers, but I can’t do this while I am mak- ing redundancies. Recruitment costs alone could be £30,000.” Meanwhile, another state school headteacher told SecEd: “It would

be nice to know what our budget is to be. The recently converted acad- emies have still not been told what the damage is likely to be. “We are expecting serious cuts

because of the cut in 6th form funding and the mainstreaming of specialist schools money – but we simply don’t know.”

UK news n SecEd: On Your Side n Independent thinking n Moral support n NQT diary n Managing ICT n At the chalkface

Issue 284 • May 19 2011 Price £1.00


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