Stourbridge school with MP as governor faces teaching crisis through severe Government cuts, says report

 

Redhill School in Stourbridge stands to lose up to £620,000 in central government funding during the new Parliament in a wave of harsher-than-average Government cuts in West Midlands schools, figures from official sources indicate.

The projected cuts at the school – where recently re-elected Stourbridge MP Margot James is an Associate Governor – involve funding clawbacks amounting to £520 for each of the 1200 pupils or up to 17 teachers’ salaries by 2022, say researchers.

The report commissioned by teachers and headteachers across England uses statistics from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) that put the planned cuts at Redhill School at almost 70 per cent higher than the national average.

Other schools in the town face even more severe reductions to funding, according to the report.

The much smaller Hob Green Primary School is one of the biggest losers with a projected 17 per cent cut that the report says will mean a £713-per-pupil reduced spend or the equivalent loss of four teachers over five years (Click here to search for figures relating to other local schools)

The deep local education cuts reflect a trend highlighted in a Channel Four FactCheck that places the West Midlands as the second hardest-hit region in England, behind only Inner London.

Thousands of headteachers wrote to parents ahead of the general election warning of the ‘dreadful’ funding crisis facing schools across the country.

In the run-up to the June 8 election, Ms James (Conservative) did not respond to the report authors’ invitation to indicate whether or not she would oppose the cuts, they say.

Her election rivals Pete Lowe (Labour) and Andi Mohr (Green Party) both declared their opposition to the Government’s plans while no response was recorded for the fourth candidate Chris Bramall (Lib Dem).

In April last year, Ms James voted in favour of turning all primary and secondary schools in England into academies, shifting control of their funding from local councils to central government. The attempt was abandoned by the Government after strong opposition. Back in 2010, she voted to enable more schools in England to gain Academy Status for ‘financial independence’ and their removal from local authority control.

According to the teachers’ report findings, the Government has cut school funding by £2.8 billion since 2015. Between now and 2022, it wants to cut £8.9 billion more, the authors say.

The report also asserts that 93 per cent of English schools’ costs are rising faster than their income and 60 per cent of secondary schools are running Government-enforced deficit budgets.

Ms James has fostered links with Redhill School since becoming an associate governor. In 2015, she invited headmaster Stephen Dunster and pupils to speak at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham where they received a standing ovation from delegates. She also hosted former Education Secretary and academy school champion Nicky Morgan at the school during a tour to promote conversions of schools to academy structure.

Redhill School is part of the Stour Vale Academy Trust, one of the multi-school management chains that has emerged to take over and operate schools along more commercial lines. Headed by The Earls High School in Halesowen, the Trust’s third school is Olive Hill Primary School, also in Halesowen. Both are set to lose out heavily under the Government’s spending plans for 2017-2022, according to the report.

Update at April 5 2018: Margot James quit as Redhill governor, leaving academy in deficit and facing more underfunding: most local schools ‘at risk

 

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