Cuts make it ‘harder’ to teach resort’s pupils

Andy Smith, head teacher at St Aidan's CE Technology College.
Andy Smith, head teacher at St Aidan's CE Technology College.
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Cuts to the budgets of schools across Blackpool and the Fylde coast means they will struggle to teach its students, a headteacher has warned.

St Aidan’s Church of England High School’s leader, Andy Smith, spoke out after a respected think-tank said schools will ‘feel the pinch’ over the next five years as spending per pupil could fall by around eight per cent.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said spending on schools will fall in real terms for the first time since the mid 1990s, with a report also saying 30,000 new teachers are needed in the next five years to maintain student-to-teacher ratios – a move it said would be difficult at a time when
public sector pay is likely to fall compared to the private sector.

Mr Smith said: “The Institute for Fiscal Studies is quite right to raise this issue.

“Lancashire schools already receive far less funding per pupil than schools in many other areas.

“We do amazingly well with our limited budgets, but unless central government stops these planned cuts it will become very difficult to continue to provide the highest quality education to our young people.

“Education is vital for the future of our country so this should alarm all of us.”

Pamela Birch, headteacher at Hambleton Primary Academy, said the ‘financial squeeze’ would force schools to look for new ways of cutting costs.

She said: “Working more closely together in federations or multi academy trusts will enable them to share ‘back office’ services in order to prioritise funding for the front line.

“Collaboration generally results in rising standards for children, so good may 
well come out a difficult situation.”

Hambleton joined the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), set up in 2012, this week.

The alliance – made up of Aspire Academy and Montgomery High School, both in Bispham, and the all-through school Unity Academy in North Shore – hopes to share teaching tips and classroom ideas with the school, which was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2013.

The link-up also means the Church Lane school will be able to share services such as HR with the trust, freeing up vital cash for schoolbooks and equipment.