Headteachers forced to double up as canteen staff amid funding cuts in rural schools

School leaders in remote areas across England are taking on the work of cleaners, bus drivers, caretakers and canteen staff in a bid to reduce costs in the face of shrinking budgets. The Independent reports 

More than two-fifths (42 per cent) of rural heads said their school is undersubscribed – which significantly reduces the funding available to them, according to research from The Key.

More than nine in 10 (92 per cent) of the heads said they have a regular teaching commitment and more than half (53 per cent) lead a department or curriculum area.

And some school leaders are now cooking and serving lunches, cleaning toilets, supervising break times and carrying out caretaker work as they cannot afford the support staff.    

Steve Woodhouse, headteacher of Holme on Spalding Moor Primary School in East Yorkshire, does a range of roles. He said: “It can be lunchtime duty in the playground, it can be working in the kitchen, washing up. I was on the pan sink this week.”

He told The Independent: “I am doing two or three days supervising in the nursery. We do not have a nursery nurse that can do that because I can’t afford one.”

Headteachers in rural schools are facing a “perfect storm” of challenges that they do not have the capacity to deal with amid funding pressures, the report warns.

More than a third (38 per cent) of rural headteachers have pupils who have to travel as far as 10 miles to get to school – denting budgets further as a result of transportation costs to facilitate this.

Nicola West Jones, from The Key, said: “With core funding for schools determined on a per-pupil basis, rural schools that are beset by low pupil numbers and wider socio-economic and infrastructural challenges are finding the demands on their budget aren’t covered by their funding.”

Read more Headteachers forced to double up as canteen staff amid funding cuts in rural schools

Are you a headteacher that helps out due to the funding crisis? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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