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(UK) Special schools will 'bear the brunt' in financial crisis

Nov 7, 2022, Schools in crisis as costs spiral and threat of redundancies looms

Half of schools are facing the need to cut teachers as they struggle to pay for rising food, energy and wage bills and staff leave for better paid roles.

…Teaching unions have warned that unless school budgets are increased it will be "catastrophic" for children as a survey found that most schools face making redundancies next year.

Headteachers around the country have told Sky News they face the choice of cutting staff or going into the red as they struggle to pay for rising food and energy bills and a wage increase for teaching staff that has to come out of existing school budgets….

"We are going to have to make huge cuts to staffing," she said.

"The amount of money we need to save equates to probably three senior teaching staff. We will also need to cut some support staff. We'll have to look at cutting staffing for any extracurricular activities.

"At the moment we pay for speech and language support... we will have to cut that and that is really needed by our younger children."…

"We're in crisis, every school is in crisis, cost of living is going up, cost of wages is going up, energy prices, transport, you name it, it's going up," she said.

Over the past 18 months, three teaching assistants have left her school for better paid work. She hasn't been able to afford to replace them and says she can't cut staff numbers any further….

"The vulnerable children are the most affected," she added. "It's heartbreaking."…

Emma Smith has been a teaching assistant for ten years. But with two teenage boys to support she says she simply can't afford to live on the £12,000-a-year salary.

"I could go and work in a supermarket stacking shelves for around that which obviously has got no responsibility," she told Sky News….

'Most vulnerable will be hit hardest'

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, told Sky News: "Failure to increase budgets would be catastrophic for young people….

"What we know is that those schools that have the highest number of children with special educational needs or other additional needs are going to bear the brunt mostly here and that's because they just won't be able to employ as many teaching assistants and support assistants," she said.

"So what's really worrying here is that our most vulnerable children and young people as ever are likely to be hit hardest."

The Department for Education said: "We understand that schools are facing cost pressures which is why we are providing them with £53.8bn this year in core funding, including a cash increase of £4bn for this financial year. This is a 7% per pupil increase in cash terms across schools and high needs….


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