Government 'failed' over school budgets

THE MAN tipped to become the next leader of the National Union of Teachers told a meeting in Essex last night that the Government had failed a simple maths test when working out school budgets this year.

THE MAN tipped to become the next leader of the National Union of Teachers told a meeting in Essex last night that the Government had failed a simple maths test when working out school budgets this year.

Steve Sinnott , deputy general secretary of the NUT, was guest speaker at a meeting of the Colchester and North East Essex National Union of Teachers, at Broomgrove Junior School, Wivenhoe.

Mr Sinnott talked to members about the education funding crisis, the use of teaching assistants in the classroom, Mr Clarke's change to SATS testing for seven-year-olds and called for teachers' unions to unite to form one powerful voice.

Schools in Essex are facing teacher and teaching assistant redundancies, cuts in resources and deficits of up to £500,000 after the Local Education Authority gave them a standstill budget, which amounted to a drop in income due to extra costs such as increases in teacher pay and National Insurance and pension contributions.


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Essex County Council blamed the funding crisis on cuts from central Government due to the re-working of the formula used to dish out money to local authorities – and warned of £70 million of cuts in the next three years.

Yesterday Mr Sinnott said: "The funding issue is something that I think reflects incredibly badly on Government. This funding crisis was entirely predictable.

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"What they've done is got their maths wrong. The maths is Key Stage I (infants) maths and it's simple. It's about quantities and about understanding in order to buy something you need a sufficient amount of money to go out and buy it.

"We are testing the Government on it and the Government have failed the test."

He said the Government put more money into schools, but headteachers were facing different costs, such as increases in teachers' pay, employer pension contributions and National Insurance.

He said all local education authorities needed an increase in funding of 8%, but only one, Hartlepool, received it.

He said teacher redundancies were "outrageous". "I can't think of anything more ludicrous than issuing teachers with redundancies at a time when we have a teacher shortage."

Mr Sinnott said the funding crisis in Essex was no different to other parts of the country.

Essex NUT is carrying out a "spot survey" to get a full picture of situation in the county's schools.

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