It takes massive sums of money to change an authority’s schools from three tier to two tier. Redeployment of buildings and of staff (600 redundancies are planned in Bedford Borough) takes a vast amount of resources in itself, which is perhaps why BSF programmes have been beset by bureaucratic overspend, especially on consultants’ fees – £350M, even if it does exist, may well be insufficient for the task ahead.
Where, of course, funding is practically non-existent, is in the lower-primary switch. Estimated at a maximum of £60M in the consultation document, with £30M of borrowing against future capital receipts, this is a woeful underestimate of the true cost. Remember, this is the same number of pupils being subsumed into lower schools as into upper schools, and it is intended to cost about 1/6.
The real scandal is that Bedford Borough is that any shortfall in funding for the change to two-tier is going to be taken from the Dedicated Schools Grant. Read our letter to Chairs of Governors from September 1st.
This, of course, is in addition to the national £2 Billion cut in schools’ budgets from 2011.
Schools are under enough financial pressure as it is – why would we subject them to a very uncertain future by creating potential chaos?