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Cheshire West headteachers hit out at government cuts

One head encourages staff, parents and carers to back campaign against proposals

Paula Dixon, headteacher, Upton-By-Chester High School

Headteachers in West Cheshire are joining the campaign to stop a new funding formula which they claim will hit every school in the borough and lead to larger class sizes.

Unions including NAHT – which represents head and deputies – fear schools in Cheshire West will be hit by £22m funding cuts equal to 600 teaching posts.

Click here to find out how your school might be affected by the cuts

If the National Funding Formula (NFF) proposals go through in their current form then schools may be forced to cut teacher numbers and have bigger classes.

Upton-by-Chester High School

In the east of the county there is even talk of chopping the working week to just four days to balance the books.

Paula Dixon, headteacher of Upton High School, has written to parents and carers asking for their support in opposing the funding cuts as well voicing her concerns to Secretary of State Justine Greening.

Cheshire West schools could be hit by massive £22m cuts plan

Mrs Dixon, in the letter on behalf of herself and chair of governors Ann-Marie Asbridge, said: “In order to increase the pressure on the Department for Education to change its NFF plans and to provide fairer funding to schools like ours, we are encouraging all staff, parents and other stakeholders of our school, to write to their local MP to voice their personal concerns.”

In the letter to Ms Greening, she wrote: “We are a forward-thinking school, assessed by Ofsted as a ‘good school with an outstanding 6th Form’. Our educational performance at both GSCE and A level is well above the national average.

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities

“If the outcome of the NFF is to financially disadvantage schools like ours we will have little option but to further erode the breadth of our curriculum offer to our students at both Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 levels and increase our class sizes in order to generate sufficient staff savings to achieve the level required, as our non-teacher staffing expenditure has been cut to the bone already.”

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She concluded: “We are proud that we have avoided entering a budget deficit to date through careful financial management, but continuing funding cuts place our school at risk of sadly adding to this statistic unless our funding situation is drastically improved.”

Michael Woollam with headteacher Damian Stenhouse opens his GCSE results at Christleton High School

Christleton High School headteacher Damian Stenhouse has also written to parents and guardians warning them of the ‘challenging financial scenario’ ahead but reassuring them the school is working hard to minimise any potential impact.

Mr Stenhouse supported the government’s stated aim of increasing funding for schools with a high proportion of children from deprived backgrounds, but added: “It should not, I believe, be at the expense of the basic funding for all students.

“Cheshire schools already receive well below the national average of funding per student and these proposed changes will only make the challenges more acute. Whilst the precise amounts have yet to be confirmed, all schools within Cheshire West and Chester will lose out.

“Along with local constituents, my headteacher colleagues and our professional bodies, I have already made representations to our local MP and I will also be providing my own comments and feedback to the consultation process, before it closes on 22 March 2017.”

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