Head’s letter claims jobs and books blow

Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College headteacher Phil Wood
Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College headteacher Phil Wood

The headteacher of Fylde’s biggest school has spelled out the extent of the economies the school is facing in a strong letter to all parents.

Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College, which currently has more than 1,400 students, is alreadybeing restructured to take only students aged from 11 to 16 from September next year.

However, jobs, books and repairs to the building will all be reduced as further economy measures, headteacher Philip Wood claimed in the letter.

Mr Wood, who is due to retire from the school at Christmas, has said the closure of the sixth form is expected to cover some £400,000 of the £700,000 savings - although the Express understands the £700,000 relates to a cumulative budget overspend and is not a reduction in budget.

In his letter to parents, he says: “Schools nationally are facing a funding crisis and this school is no exception. I have written to you before to inform you that this school has to reduce expenditure by around £700,000 by the end of the financial year 2018-19.”

He says measures being taken include:

* The school will not recruit post-16 students next year and will close the sixth form from August 31, 2018;

* Ten members of staff will leave the school at the end of this academic year and will not be replaced;

* There will be further reductions in staffing at the end of the following year;

* There have been reductions in the amount of money that will be available for books and resources and for repairs.

* The number of courses available to study in Key Stage 4 has been reduced.

* Class sizes in Key Stage 4 will increase.

“Teachers will teach more lessons next year, which means they will have less time for marking, planning and preparation of lessons. “

Fylde Conservative candidate Mark Menzies said: “This is not a budget cut. It is a £700,000 cumulative overspend by the school which the local education authority rules must be cleared.

“There is no reduction in budget of £700,000. Mr Wood contacted my office earlier this year to say he was pleased with the new funding formula brought in by the government, which has actually given his school extra monies.

“He wrote to me: ‘I am writing to urge you to support the introduction of the National Funding Formula for schools. Under these proposals this school would be one that benefits (the prediction is our income would increase by £61,000).’

“However, that does not mean I believe the job is done - I will always fight for more funding at schools in my constituency when help is requested, and am happy to meet with the headmaster to discuss that.”

Jed Sullivan, Fylde’s Labour candidate, said: “It is both appalling and demonstrable of yet more contempt from the Conservatives, that Mr Menzies appears not to recognise that his own party has caused the nationwide education budget cuts which will results in high schools across the Fylde Coast losing large amounts of funding.

“There is nothing ‘strong and stable’ about illogical cuts to an already-underfunded education service, nor increasing class sizes in the UK. Our children deserve better.”

Fylde Lib Dem candidate Freddie Van Mierlo said: “Teachers are tired of Conservative funding games where they give with one hand, but take twice as much with the other”.

“In speaking with headteachers in Fylde, it’s clear that schools are either overspending or running down reserves.

“Teachers are right to prioritise their students over the government’s failure to fund schools. Liberal Democrats will invest an extra £7 billion in children’s education and reverse these cuts.

Tina Rothery, Green Party candidate, said: “Philip Wood describes the situation that many of our schools are facing under the cuts made by this government.

“The priorities of the Conservative Party are clearly not the priorities of parents and pupils here in the Fylde or anywhere in the UK.

“We want quality education and fairly-paid teachers working in safe, appropriate buildings and anything less is negligent, dangerous and short-sighted.”