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Parents warned of funding pressures in letter from 14 schools

Teachers from the borough have been forced to send a letter to parents, warning that they are ‘not exaggerating’ the ‘challenging’ situation they face due to funding cuts.

A letter was sent out this week by 14 schools from Slough in a bid to help parents understand their financial challenges.

Using figures from Schoolcuts.org.uk, endorsed by several education unions, it estimates that every secondary school pupil in Slough has had a decrease of £424 in funding since 2015.

It says the Government’s national funding formula, will leave Slough school funding 18 to 30 per cent lower than equivalent sized schools in London.

“Class sizes will continue to rise and your child will not receive the same resources and opportunities as many other children in better funded areas,” the letter adds.

The aim of the national funding formula is to even out funding across local authorities to minimise disparities, but critics in Slough argue the borough’s schools will be unfairly penalised.

Parents were warned that Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) services are at risk, with SEND school headteachers reporting a risk to financial viability over the next 12 to 18 months, based on proposed funding cuts.

The letter warns that disadvantaged pupils in Slough do less well than students from similar backgrounds in London.

It adds: “Thousands of headteachers across the country are all saying the same thing. “We are not exaggerating the problems but making clear how challenging the situation is.”

The letter asks parents to lobby Slough MP Tan Dhesi on the issue, and demands significant increases to per-pupil funding and resources for SEND students.

“All schools in Slough are committed to delivering the best standard of education for our children and will continue to do all we can to achieve this aim, despite facing significant financial pressures,” it adds.

Tan Dhesi said the formula has not had the impact the government claimed, and that it is not ‘new money’ but re-diverted funds from elsewhere in the education budget.

He said: “What is needed, and what I will campaign for, is for Slough schools to get the resources they need, reverse the cuts, and for real terms increase in the schools budget.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, 1.9 million more pupils are in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. As a result of our fairer formula, by 2020, core funding will rise to a record £43.5 billion — the highest ever, and 50 per cent more per pupil in real terms than in 2000.”

The Government department said no school in Slough will be worse off from the formula and says funding for the area will go up by 1.1 per cent, or £1.3m, when the formula is fully implemented.

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