This article appeared as a column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 3rd February 2017.
Back in December, Education Secretary Justine Greening announced a new funding formula for schools. She promised to end "the historic unfairness". I'll admit I was more than a bit sceptical. Despite higher needs here, Barnsley's had bigger cuts to our public services than in many better-off parts of the country.
But Greening said: “This unfairness is seen right across the country. For example… a school in Barnsley could receive 50 per cent more funding, with no changes to its circumstances, if it were situated in Hackney instead.”
Interesting, I thought. Maybe the Government's finally listened? Not a chance. It's now emerged that our schools will have even less cash in future.
According to research from the teaching unions, any gains made by Barnsley schools will be outweighed by major budget cuts.
According to their 'School Cuts' website, school budgets in Barnsley will shrink in real terms by £6.58 million by 2019/2020.
For instance, figures show the All Saints Academy in Darfield could see its budget shrink by £130,836 by 2019/20 – a huge cut of £711 per pupil.
Over the same period, Shafton Primary Academy faces a £121,386 cut – the equivalent of £519 per pupil, or the equivalent of losing four teachers.
The Forest Academy in Kendray faces a £102,485 cut – the equivalent of £436 per pupil. That could be the equivalent of losing two teachers.
Oakhill Primary Academy faces a cut of £101,580 – the equivalent of £367 per pupil, a loss equivalent to losing two teachers. The list goes on.
These budget cuts come on top of existing teacher shortages in Barnsley - revealed in the Barnsley Chronicle - as well as cuts to children’s centres, libraries and school sports. It’s time the Government lived up to their promise to give Barnsley a fair deal.
That's why I’ve written to the Government to demand some answers. Our dedicated teaching staff, parents and most of all our young people deserve better.