14th Oct, 2019

Solihull schools face further cuts amid predicted budget shortfalls

Felix Nobes 10th Jul, 2019

MANY Solihull schools are facing further cuts and predict budget shortfalls.

A total of 19 schools are forecasting deficits beyond next year, education cabinet member Ken Meeson told a full Solihull Council meeting yesterday (July 9).

The announcement intensified concerns that schools could be forced to cut staff, the school week or other important services to children.

The news comes after grave concerns were raised by 15 borough headteachers who wrote to Solihull MP Julian Knight in March about the plight facing schools, as we reported.

After being questioned, Coun Meeson said: “Currently there are no schools in deficit.

“But unless there is additional funding made available there are 19 schools predicting a possible deficit by the end of 2021.

“Addressing this could involve changes to staffing structures. But that is a matter for the individual governing bodies.

“Our MPs have been lobbying on it and it is a matter this council has been pursuing for as long as I can remember.

“The most important thing for us and for our schools, children and families is to get fair funding for Solihull schools.

“We are at the bottom of the pile, we get the smallest percentage of funding.”

Solihull is one of 42 local authorities among the lowest funded for education in England, according to the F40 campaign which the council is a member of.

Green Party councillor Max McLoughlin claims central government funding to Solihull schools is insufficient.

He is calling on councils like Solihull to send a strong message to the prospective Conservative Prime Minister.

He said: “We’ve been saying for years that there’s a serious problem with school funding.

“Whilst we’re glad that the Conservatives are starting to listen to us, schools and other parties, it’s important they accept the scale of the problem.

“The fact that 19 schools can’t balance their budgets in an affluent area like Solihull should really be a wake up call.

“The government has an opportunity to put the funds in through the spending review later this year.

“If the money doesn’t come through in the teaching review it’s going to be teachers cut, subjects lost or cuts to the school week.”

In March we spoke to Alderbrook Secondary School headteacher Dr Janette Smith who warned some schools in Solihull are seriously considering moving to reduced hours due to funding pressures.

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