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25th Jun, 2022

Whistleblower: Deprived children are victims of Solihull school cuts

Ross Crawford 21st Oct, 2021

A SOLIHULL school is so starved of cash staff are having to buy bread so they can provide breakfast for pupils following cuts by the borough council.

That’s the claim of a concerned whistleblower at Summerfield Education Centre who says the cuts are hitting some of the most deprived and challenging students in the region.

“It’s like we’re living in a Third World country, it’s scandalous,” they said.

“To a lot of people these kids are from the bottom of the barrel and look at the way they are being treated by the local authority.

“Last year we were never short of money but now Solihull Council has turned off the taps and staff are even having to buy bread so the kids can have toast for breakfast.”

Summerfield, in Auckland Drive, Solihull, teaches some 20 pupils, youngsters who have in the main been excluded from mainstream education.

The school has been through difficult times, but under the leadership of headteacher Tina Whitehouse has risen to the challenge, going from being placed in special measures by Ofsted to receiving a glowing report in May 2021 from inspectors, who said: “‘Leaders have transformed this school since its last section 5 inspection two years ago.

“It has improved in all areas. The school’s staff form a strong and committed team.

“They care for pupils exceptionally well, making sure they are safe and get any extra help they need.”

Despite this it is said a decision was made for the school to become part of a larger academy trust.

Until then, the the flow of money to the school has been turned off until March / April 2022.

“Staff were told there’s no money left,” said the whistleblower.

“So for this six to seven month transition period we are expected to carry on with no money – yet these are vulnerable children.

“The school building itself is dilapidated, and that’s after the school was moved from a very, very old building into just a very old building.

We’ve got leaking ceilings, the lot.

“In this day and age you have here a pupil referral unit of kids who have gone through all sorts of abuse and good knows what being treated like this by Solihull Council.”

A Solihull spokesperson said: “The regional schools commissioner has recently written to Solihull Council informing us that Summerfield Education Centre is to become part of a multi-academy trust.

“The expected conversion date is March 1, 2022.

“Since the inspection the school has built up a deficit budget.

“We must take all reasonable measures to minimise any overspending to prevent an adverse impact on children and young people in the borough.

“There are procedures in place to ensure the school can make any necessary expenditure.”

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