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Anger growing at real terms cuts to education funding in Cumbria

[T]oday (Tuesday 25th April) school leaders’ union NAHT will hold a further event in Cumbria on school funding, as anger towards real terms cuts escalates.

Schools in Cumbria will soon be seeing the impact of an estimated £3bn shortfall in the government’s education budget by 2020. NAHT has held events across the region for school leaders, but is now holding events open to concerned parents and members of the public.

These are the first real terms cuts to education spending since the 1990s. The picture is extremely bleak, with 98 per cent of schools set to lose funding, at a time when costs are rising and pupil numbers are growing.

Cumbria is likely to lose an average of £383 per pupil – a total of more than £23 million for the area as a whole. To put that number into context, it is the equivalent of 625 average teacher salaries.

The impact on learning will be significant. Class sizes in primary schools could rise and some GCSE and A Level subjects could be cut from the curriculum entirely as school budgets are pushed beyond breaking point.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:  “School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. The government’s £3 billion real terms cut to education funding must be reversed or we will see education and care suffer. Already heads are being forced to cut staff, cut the curriculum and cut specialist support.”

Graham Frost, Head Teacher of Robert Ferguson Primary School in Carlisle and NAHT Cumbria Branch Secretary, said: “Some schools are already having to consider reducing staffing due to financial constraints. This funding crisis comes at a time when the system expects schools to do even more for our children and our families as the capacity of Local Authorities is reduced. School leaders are not only under ever-increasing pressure to achieve strong outcomes in SATs tests and exams while maintaining a full and balanced curriculum, they are increasingly being called upon to engage in aspects of social work and mental health work to meet a complex range of additional needs.”

NAHT will be hosting the following events in Cumbria:

Dalston Caldew School, Dalston, nr Carlisle, CA5 7NN 25 April 6:45pm Cumbria
 Penrith Ullswater Community College, Penrith, CA11 8NG 26 April 6:00pm Cumbria
 Egremont  West Lakes Academy, Egremont, CA22 2DQ 4 May
6:30pm
 Cumbria

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