3:52pm Wednesday 12th January 2011
By Elizabeth Pears
HUNDREDS of Haringey's teachers will protest on Monday over trimmed down school budgets which have prompted fears of staff job losses.
Teachers union Haringey NUT said it expected up to 500 teachers and parents to march from Ducketts Common to Haringey Civic Centre at 5pm on Monday, January 17.
The demonstrators are furious about Government spending cuts and a shake-up of education funding which means schools are facing a 5.5 per cent reduction in their budgets for 2011/12.
The union warned that schools in Crouch End, Hornsey and Muswell Hill would be worst affected as funding will now be directed towards more challenging areas such as Tottenham.
Under the new plans, Haringey Council will only provide minimal support to schools following a cut of ten per cent to its area-based grant.
The cash is awarded to local authorities by central Government based on its specific needs in order to meet national or local priorities.
Haringey schools will also have to do without the £30 million from the axed Standard Fund which was channelled into schools to pay for additional initiatives to improve standards in literacy and numeracy or social inclusion.
A portion of the grant - £3 million – means that 50 specialist school support jobs are to be cut affecting programmes for children diagnosed as having special education needs or early intervention
Tony Brockman, Haringey NUT chairman, said: "This Government simply does not understand how school improvement works. They are cutting all but the most minimal support for Haringey schools.
"Instead of supporting schools, their policy risks school failure which will only be identified after children’s education has been damaged. Their approach runs counter to all research and evidence on school improvement. It will dissipate the expertise and local experience of highly respected school professionals in Haringey."
Headteachers are still waiting for final figures for the coming academic year but Haringey NUT said schools have already been asked to make 1.5 per cent of "back office" efficiency savings and will not rise with inflation equating to a funding deficit of 2 per cent.
The newly-introduced pupil premium, £430 allocated to schools per student eligible for free school meals, will mean the east of the borough will receive significantly more funding and the wealthier west side will suffer a shortfall.
It is this new policy which puts teaching staff at schools like Fortismere or Alexandra Park at risk of redundancy from as early as the summer term starting in April.
Haringey Council said staffing issues and how budgets were spent were matters for individual schools.
Councillor Lorna Reith, cabinet member for children and young people, said the council was "deeply concerned" about the impact the Government's cuts will have on schools in Haringey.
She said: "A loss of more than two per cent from each school's budget will clearly have a significant bearing on how they are placed to support young people.
"For schools in more deprived areas in the east of Haringey, where a greater proportion of pupils are entitled to free school meals, the pupil premium will go some way towards softening the blow of the budget cuts, but schools in the west of the borough will undoubtedly face a greater struggle to make up the shortfall.
"It is hugely disappointing the Government has reduced funding for young people and left schools facing such difficult decisions as they try to make their budgets stack up."
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