Day 98 – A Financial Scandal Unfolding

SMS has always recognised that the proposed lower-primary change is woefully underfunded. Our position has always been that this has not been properly costed, that estimates by others with knowledge of educational buildings projects are getting on for double the highest estimate from the Borough, and that council taxes will have to rise or services will be cut.

Today in the Times & Citizen, Michael Headley reveals that the source of any borrowing to fund the lower-primary change will not be the overall council budget.

Phew. That’s alright then. No rise in council tax and no services cut.

Ah…not quite. The money has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is the Dedicated Schools Grant, which is the money allocated to pay for everything that schools provide – teachers, support staff, resources – you know, the things that make a school run properly.

Anyway, this brilliant plan means that if the Borough’s estimate of £30M borrowing is correct, then this equates to a 2% cut in funding for the overall budget. Potentially for 25 years. If they’ve got their sums right.

And if they haven’t got their sums right, then schools will lose even more money potentially…because the financial principle has now been established.

Every lower school should look at this and decide how they are going to save this money, because if they can’t, then why are any of them supporting this damaging proposal?

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4 Responses to Day 98 – A Financial Scandal Unfolding

  1. JamesD says:

    I am appalled, the Consultation Document was inept and flawed but to leave out the cut in school budgets and expect anyone to make a rational, evidence based, decision was completely cynical. We are already way behind the England average and most of our Statistical Neighbours in spending on education in Bedford Borough. How can a cut in schools annual revenue do anything other than REDUCE attainment. Can we now expect resignations from those education officers who presented such corrupted information in the Document and at many Public meetings – they claimed to have only the pupils’ interests at heart!

  2. Colin Mosedale says:

    Lets also not lose sight of the fact that once the conversion of 50 or so lower schools to primaries has been completed at maybe double the Council’s guesstimate of £30m, the children in these primaries will not enjoy the full range of facilities that had been available in the first 2 years of middle school education. Parents will look around for the science and IT labs, dedicated rooms for Art and Drama, large playing fields for sport and they won’t be there anymore.

  3. PeterP says:

    I am afraid that you will see a lot of this. The position is very similar in Suffolk, and it is quite clear that the SCC staff (some of whom have had well paid jobs created for them in order to destroy the middle schools) are so set on doing this that they will stop at nothing; including what at best is wishful thinking and at worst false accounting. The councillors in Suffolk who set this running were also unable either to see the effects of their decisions or to control county employees. They are also incapable of separating the financial “sheep and goats”.
    I doubt that any place where this was done, even in good times, came in within budget and with the right facilities. To expect a lot of this in a recession is mere pie in the sky.

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