(Q) Now that the dust has settled on the recent budget where does it leave real school finances?
(A) REDUCED!

On the surface there appears to be significant increases to spending on education but this is largely to cover the simple fact there is going to be a large increase in pupil numbers – there is a need to provide 600,000 additional school places in the coming years. This will need new build and refurbishment.

Many economic commentators are predicting an effective 7.5% reduction in education spending over the lifetime of this parliament.

Schools are facing any cost rises with respect to pay and pensions, employer National Insurance contributions, as well as rises in utility prices. All this is compounded by the fact that the teacher shortage is predicted to get worse which will mean schools spending larger sums to use supply teachers.

Many more schools are in danger of having to set deficit budgets and ‘borrowing’ money but this has its limits. If schools are going to attempt to deliver the national curriculum they will need teachers but may start cutting various support staff posts, delay basic building repairs, cut spending on basic materials and equipment. Cuts to basic materials and support staff, will of course, have a serious effect on lesson planning therefore quality of learning.

We are in danger of seeing a backward slide in the standards of provision to our young people despite the best efforts of school staff. And we all know who will get the blame if standards dip!

Have you noticed an impact of financial pressures in your school at this time?

If so, what are they and what are the initial effects?