The Guardian reports that a cash-strapped primary school is asking pupils to vacuum classrooms at the end of the day because it cannot afford to replace the cleaner, while the headteacher’s husband is doing the plumbing for free.
Furzedown Primary school, in the London borough of Wandsworth is one of thousands of schools struggling to make ends meet during the funding crisis. Thousands of parents, teachers and governors held local events as part of a national day of action to protest against the cuts, which will see schools in England face a real-terms reduction of £3bn once inflation is taken into account.
Parents are also contributing, replacing worn-out sports equipment and buying classroom materials.
The school’s struggle to make ends meet is replicated in primaries and secondaries across England. While the absolute amount of money in the national pot for schools is at record levels, once rising pupil numbers, inflation and running costs, are factored in, schools will have to cut approximately 8% from budgets by 2020.
Furzedown headteacher Monica Kitchlew-Wilson said that as a result of a combination of cuts, she was “looking at being down by £100,000. It’s a huge amount for a two-form entry primary. I’ve never had a minus in my life and I’ve been here 30 years but there are minus figures at the bottom of every column and we are looking to save money any way we can.”
In a bid to save money, parents have come in to the school to paint the ceilings and do the gardening, as well as donating equipment. “We are getting boxes of stuff from Amazon that parents are buying for us but it’s not right that families have to buy resources for the school. State schools should be funded by the state and that is what it’s about,” she said.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “This election is a make-or-break moment. School budgets are at breaking point right now. More money for schools is absolutely vital. Whoever forms the next government needs to fund education fully and fairly.”
What is the biggest loss your school is facing through the cuts? Are parents at your school helping or have your pupils helped clean the classroom? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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