Plea For Help As Chickerell Primary Academy Grapples Funding Crisis

Kallum Gethins By Kallum Gethins May8,2024
Chickerell Primary Academy New Class Bases September 2015

Chickerell Primary Academy in Weymouth have sent out an email to parents and carers about the need for more support as funding has been signifcantly reduced due to real-time spending and amounting costs of utility bills and other neccesaties to keep the school running.

The new projections for school funding shows that assuming staff were to receive pay awards next year simply in line with 2023/24 then:

  • 92% of mainstream schools face real-terms cuts from April. Children’s education will suffer.
  • An alarming 18,484 of schools (92%), both primary and secondary, will be unable to cope with cost increases in 2024/25 without making cuts to education provision. This means 99% of secondary schools and 91% of primary schools will need to make cuts to survive.

Despite the worst recruitment and retention crisis in a generation, with current funding, schools will only be able to afford a 1% pay rise for staff next year.

Mrs Harris, the headteacher for the school expressed her concerns and plea for help by emailing all the parents:

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“Dear parent,

This is a very difterent email to my weekly one, one with a
significantly difficult message to deliver to you.
As you may be aware from the news over the last few
months, funding for schools is in crisis. Despite any political
rhetoric you read, money for schools has been cut in terms of
‘real time’ spending , particularly with SEN funding, but also
with the pressure of spiralling utility bills and such like.

School are given their budget allocation based on the
number of children on roll in the first early census of the year
and this year, as with every other primary school in
Weymouth, because of low birthrates, we saw a fall in our
pupil numbers in Reception from 60 to 45. This equates to
over £70,000 less funding that we have received for the
school. In addition, schools are now being asked to pay
increased pension costs for all their staff, which is amounting
to thousands of pounds extra over the year.

Quite simply, we have a massive shortfall in our budget.
Now, over the last few years, we have tried really hard to
make things as financially easy for parents as possible,
knowing how the economic climate has been.

We’ve run all trips at a massively subsidised cost, our wrap-around
childcare’ is substantially cheaper than any other provider,
we’ve issued thousands of pounds of food and utility
vouchers to help- but the reality is that this cannot simply
sustain long term if the school and the staffing ratios are to
be protected, Inevitable, there will need to be some changes. We will have
to increase our childcare prices to reflect this, for example,
and we can no longer afford to pay the extortionate coach
prices for trips out. We may need to prioritise what equipment
we can afford for the children.

What we are hoping that you can help with- particularly those
of you who may have a company or business contact- is to
support the day to day resourcing of equipment that costs so
much and is used so often,: glue sticks, stationery,
basketballs, footballs, handwriting pens, games for wet
playtimes, that kind of thing. We are hoping that in return for
some very clear publicity, some companies might like to
donate money or such equipment to us. I know this is a big
ask, but as a staff we are prepared to do our bit, for
example, some staff have offered to reduce their hours to
help save costs- but we need our community’s help too. “

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:  “Thirteen years of Conservative rule has been defined by sustained real-terms cuts to education. The effect is evident in every corner of schools and colleges today, and there is nothing to be gained from denying this reality. Buildings are crumbling, support services have collapsed, and teachers are having to teach subjects outside of their specialism. None of this is good for children or learning. A government which has insisted for too long on schools doing more with less, has now run out of road. This is an overwhelming case for action on school funding. We need to see substantial new investment in the coming Autumn Statement.” 

If you can help the academy, email us

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