Suffolk schools warned of budget squeeze

SCHOOLS across Suffolk are facing a financial nightmare that could see teaching positions lost, a headteacher warned today.Although Suffolk County Council claims this year's budget is as much as an eight per cent rise on last year, hidden extras have made it almost impossible for schools to balance their books.

SCHOOLS across Suffolk are facing a financial nightmare that could see teaching positions lost, a headteacher warned today.

Although Suffolk County Council claims this year's budget is as much as an eight per cent rise on last year, hidden extras have made it almost impossible for schools to balance their books.

David Forrest, head teacher at Orwell High School in Felixstowe claims that schools are now juggling their finances to try to achieve the best possible results for their pupils.

He said his school had received six per cent more money than last year. But a rise in superannuation and national insurance that schools now have to pay for their teachers will slash that amount to just one or two per cent – not even enough to cover the planned teacher pay rises for this year.


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Although Mr Forrest said there would be no redundancies, he warned that in some cases when staff left he would no longer be able to replace them.

This could lead to bigger class sizes and extra pressure on staff.

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He said: "The situation for this and every other school in Suffolk is that the budget for this year will not cover as much as last year.

"We are going to have to plan carefully to see where we can make some savings."

Mr Forrest said that the teachers would work hard to make sure any changes had as little effect as possible on the students.

But he added: "Students will, to some extent, be taught in larger classes by teachers who are working harder."

The school has been given a budget for £2.8million this year to pay for 100 staff – 65 of whom are teachers – books, furnishings and any other extras that will help students achieve their goals.

On average the cost of just one teacher is £35,000 a year.

He said that the school will have to look at all areas of the school to make savings but realistically teachers were the biggest cost.

Last week the Government announced that it was to plough extra money into the country's schools after an outcry about the effects of funding changes.

An extra £28million was added but Mr Forrest claims that Suffolk is losing out to other areas and received £108,000 extra to be distributed between more than 500 schools in the county.

David Peachey, Director of Education said that it had been recognised that this would be a difficult year for schools despite the additional £28.3million that the county council had put into schools making it the highest amount ever allocated.

He said: "Of course, some schools may experience a smaller increase, especially if they lose central government grants, get less money from the Learning and Skills Council for sixth form funding or have falling pupil numbers."

Are you one of the people affected by this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.

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