One high-profile school business manager writes a letter in Tes on behalf of her profession to teaching colleagues everywhere: ‘Our real-term funding has been cut to the point where we cannot function effectively anymore’.
As we enter a new term and, for many, a new financial year, you will find that all budget lines and cost centres have been cut again and you will, once again, have to make do with less.
Less printing, less teaching-assistant support, less administrative support, less furniture, less CPD, less cleaning, less maintenance, less software, less pastoral care for students and less technician support in lessons, not to mention fewer books, fewer resources and fewer trips.
The leak in the stairwell will still leak, the radiator that never works will continue to not work, and we won’t be replacing the fridge in the staffroom. The heating will be going off earlier and there will be a limit on paper towels. We won’t be able to supply you with lunch on inset days, nor will we be able to buy wine or flowers for those who are leaving us this term. We won’t be replacing those people either.
Pastoral teams, it’s highly unlikely that we will be unable to fund replacement uniforms, shoes or lunches for any students who do not qualify for pupil premium or free school meals, so please check in advance before committing. We will also be increasing the cost of printing and photocopying, but we will be unable to increase your departmental budgets to cover those costs.
Please understand that we do all of this through necessity and not through choice. Our real-term funding has been cut to the point where we cannot function effectively anymore. We have done absolutely everything within our power to mitigate and stave off these impossible decisions, and we have been fighting hard and relentlessly for more funding, and for any additional sources of income for many, many months. We have, without you realising it, been making cuts and those ludicrously feted ‘efficiency savings’ for the last three years; renegotiating, trimming, cancelling, not replacing, rebrokering and squeezing every last drop out of whatever we can find.
We’re sorry. Please understand that we have no choices left. We haven’t cut your budgets because we’re unkind or mean. Or because we don’t like your department. Or you. Or because we’re power-hungry, unfeeling, control-freaks or inefficient. We’ve done it because we have a loaded gun to our heads.
School business leaders
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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