Education standards under threat from budget cuts

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Schools across England are being forced to cut courses, equipment and books, increase class sizes and make redundancies because of significantly reduced budgets, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

The ASCL accused the Government of 'asking the impossible' by demanding that schools improve standards, without giving them the money and resources to do so, ahead of a conference of headteachers in Birmingham later today.

A survey of ASCL members found the majority believe cuts will significantly affect standards.

More than three quarters of those surveyed felt that financial pressures have had a detrimental effect on the education they are able to provide.

Nearly two thirds have had to cut the number of courses on offer over the past 12 months and a similar number have had to increase class sizes, while 69 per cent have had to cut resources such as IT equipment or books.

Almost four in ten respondents have made redundancies and 70 per cent have made savings through non-replacement of teachers who have left. Other actions have included reducing the number of senior leadership posts (46 per cent) and non-replacement of support staff who have left (80 per cent).

The financial situation is set to worsen over the next 12 months with almost 90 per cent expecting it to be critical, very serious or serious. Cutbacks are likely be more severe with half set to make redundancies.

ASCL President Allan Foulds said: "These problems are so acute that there is a serious danger we will not be able maintain current standards, let alone raise them further.

"It is simply asking the impossible to demand that schools and colleges take the next big leap forward in raising the bar without providing the essential materials with which to achieve that ambition.

"There is a simple correlation between input and output in any process. The education system requires the raw materials of sufficient funding and teacher supply to achieve the outcomes we all want to see.

"No amount of hard work and dedication in schools and colleges can make up for the lack of them and it is wishful thinking to believe otherwise."

Professional Development Today
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