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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Head teachers not convinced on funding

By Gary Eason
BBC News Online at the NAHT conference in York

Head teacher Sue Sayles
Sue Sayles will be losing one teacher and taking a class herself

Head teachers in England are not persuaded by the government's argument that they will be getting well over 500m more this year - once their education authorities get around to allocating it to them.

Sue Sayles, head of Riccall community primary in North Yorkshire, said that, based on the government's promised extra millions, she had anticipated having more money to spend this year.

"The reality is that I'm 85,500 short of being able to run my school from September as I ran it at the end of March," she said.

She would not be renewing one teacher's contract.

"You can imagine how distraught my community is, to know that they are losing a teacher."

Back to the classroom

And - for the first time in 18 years as a head - she would have to teach a class full-time herself.

t's very easy to see why we are having these problems
Vince Burke

"That means all my leadership work will go and my work-life balance will be a laugh."

Her LEA has yet to allocate 1.5m. But she said that would amount only to "hundreds" of pounds more for her - not the thousands she needed.

"We work very closely with them so we know exactly what we are going to get."

Vince Burke, senior vice-principal of Kitto Community College in Plymouth, said: "We are completely aware fo all the money the LEA has got."

He said it was simple: Plymouth's increase had been 2.9% when schools needed about 10% to stand still in the face of rising costs.

"It's very easy to see why we are having these problems."


Staffordshire head teacher Alan Stockley said people should remember the effect of "all this mysterious, magical maths" on children's education.

"That's where we are feeling the pinch."

He was having to re-organise his school to make classes bigger and there was less money for information technology and other resources.

The effect on teachers was demoralising. One of his staff was leaving the profession, he said.

David Pratt represents head teachers in East and West Sussex on the ruling council of the National Association of Head Teachers.

East Sussex, he said, had put up the council tax by 17% - "bravely protecting us" from the worst effects of the shortfall in central government funding for schools. But politically it could not keep on doing that.

Held back

In York, where the NAHT is beginning its annual conference, the city council has not yet allocated 1m that should be going to the schools budget.

The director of education, Patrick Scott, said that was because it was earmarked to be used by schools for specific purposes.

For example, many schools would take on new staff in September who would be fresh out of training colleges.

Schools would have to support them through their induction and cover for them when they went on further training courses.

"We haven't given the money out to schools yet because we don't know which schools are going to be making those appointments."

The BBC's James Westhead
"A survey of schools warns the crisis is much wider"

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