MP to raise concerns over Melton school cuts

Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan cuts a ribbon to officially open Browlow School's new dining hall EMN-150925-162935001

Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan cuts a ribbon to officially open Browlow School's new dining hall EMN-150925-162935001

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Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan will take forward constituents concerns about proposed cuts in the annual budget for schools across the Melton borough.

Parents have been urged to fight the government’s planned changes to the formula for calculating the funding of schools which could mean head teachers in town schools have to manage with up to 12 per cent less money each year while heads in rural schools face having their purse strings tightened by up to 29 per cent.

That is according to figures released this week by the Leicestershire branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which has called on parents and other residents to lobby their MPs to block the funding changes while they are at the consultation stage.

Sir Alan told the Melton Times: “In 2016/17, over 40 billion will be spent on schools in this country – the highest level on record.

“The new funding formula aims to ensure money is distributed in a fairer and more transparent way.

“What really matters is that rural areas are not unfairly treated as we have been for so long.

“I appreciate that some are concerned about the impact of this proposal to schools in Melton, and I have written to the Secretary of State for Education to ensure these views are properly represented in the consultation.”

The NUT say the National Audit Office has confirmed that every pupil in Leicestershire will suffer an eight per cent reduction in funding if the funding changes are implemented following public consultation, which closes on March 22.

Assistant secretary of the Leicestershire NUT branch, Pauline Town, said: “We have serious concerns about the funding crisis across Leicestershire schools.

“Despite the government’s promise to protect school funding and their recent proposals to reform the national funding formula, the county’s schools are this year still down at the bottom of the pile.

“We strongly urge all parents to raise their concerns with their local MP, ask him or her to support the NUT campaign for better real funding for all schools, and in particular for Leicestershire schools, before the government sets its budget in March.“

Parents can find out exactly how much funding their child’s school would lose if the Budget is approved by going online to the union’s new website www.schoolcuts.org.uk and typing in its postcode.

The NUT’s figures show the following cuts for Melton schools: Swallowdale Primary School 12%, The Grove Primary School 12%, St Mary’s CofE Primary School 11%, St Francis Catholic Primary School 10%, Brownlow Primary 8%, John Ferneley College 6%, Long Field Academy 4%.

Selected figures for annual budget cuts in village schools: Somerby 29%, Ab Kettleby 25%, Wymondham 22%, Waltham 19%, Redmile 15%, Thrussington 15%, Great Dalby 14%, Asfordby Hill 13%, Frisby 13%, Scalford 11%, Queniborough 13%, Whissendine 11%.

Mowbray Education Trust, an academy organisation which manages John Ferneley College, Brownlow and Grove Primary Schools in Melton plus primary schools at Ab Kettleby and Somerby, said the impact on schools of any cuts wouldn’t be known until definitive figures are released on new funding levels by the Department of Education.

Chief operating officer Stephen Mitchell, whose academy employs more than 300 staff and oversees 2,000 pupils, said he didn’t recognise the levels of cuts being highlighted by the NUT.

He said there were pressures on funding of academies but they had an advantage in having the flexibility of being able to decide how to spend the money they receive.