Wakefield headteachers warn: ‘Cutbacks could lead to closures’

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Wakefield headteachers have warned parents that financial cutbacks could lead to classrooms having to be shut for up to half of the working week.

School leaders have taken a united approach and have penned a letter to parents detailing the “significant implications” of school funding cuts, including fewer teachers and increased class sizes.

They also warned that the curriculum choice will be scaled back, support for students with special educational needs will be reduced and there will be less investment in facilities and resources to support lessons.

Signed ‘Wakefield Head-
teachers’, the letter is the result of a meeting of the Wakefield Secondary Headteachers Standing Committee, which is made up of leaders from more than 25 schools across the city.

Member Ray Henshaw, principal of Minsthorpe Community College, said: “It was all of us sounding our collective alarm at the way things are going.”

Mr Henshaw said the nation was in the grip of an education crisis and parents needed to be aware. “Within a year schools could go to three-day weeks. Some schools are already finishing half an hour earlier, because they can’t afford to put teachers in front of the kids,” he said.

In the letter, the headteachers argue against the Government’s claims that funding is at its highest ever level, stating that in reality schools have been funded on a ‘flat cash’ basis for a number of years, meaning that funding per pupil has stood still while costs have increased.

Sally Kincaid, National Union of Teachers (NUT) Wakefield branch secretary, said: “It’s good that headteachers are highlighting the issues.”