Nottingham school budgets: Parents urged to have their say

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Thousands of parents are being urged to have their say on Government plans that could see Nottingham school budgets cut across the board.

Nottingham City Council is this week writing to every school parent and carer to explain how the proposed new National Funding Formula will affect their children. Calculations show that 98% of schools in the city would receive less money under the new formula from April 2018.

The reduction would be to schools’ core budget, which pays for all running costs – at a time when pupil numbers in the city are rising. In real terms, after inflation and other costs, this means schools in the city could on average lose £168,000 per primary per year and £491,000 per secondary per year.

This cut to Nottingham City schools budgets runs in line with other large cities and urban areas with the highest levels of child poverty such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

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This process, which is being driven by overall funding cuts nationally, has caused The National Audit Office to warn that schools face an 8% real terms cut in funding per pupil by 2019-20.

Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “We’ve applied the new formula to our schools and found that 98% will lose out. It’s vital that parents are made aware of how this will impact on their children’s education – and it’s even more important that they have the chance to give their views on this.

“We’ve written to every parent and asked them to complete a survey – we’ll use this to feedback to the Department of Education so we can show Nottingham’s collective response to the plans.

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“These budget cuts will mean cuts to important aspects of school life. Faced with reducing funds, schools in Nottingham will have to reduce services. And it’s the added enrichment, the out of normal hours services, the holiday clubs, the breakfast clubs, the trips to broaden the horizons of our children, the reading sessions for parents, the extra-curricular sports, culture and arts activities that I fear will be first to go.”

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As well as filling in the paper surveys, people can give their feedback via an online form at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/schoolbudget. The closing date is 15 March 2017 to allow time for the city council to collate responses before the Department for Education’s closing deadline of 22 March 2017. Feedback on the national site can be given at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/schools-national-funding-formula-stage-2.

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