“Outrageous attack” on funding leaves Redbridge schools in lurch

Free school meals, one-to-one tuition and support for vulnerable students may all be at risk after a �900,000 government “cut” to schools funding in Redbridge.

The Department for Education wrote to councils last month informing them they would not receive the final five per cent of their annual School Standards Fund for the financial year 2010/11 due on April 1. That money has been absorbed into the new Dedicated Schools Grant for the following financial year.

Redbridge schools had budgeted to receive �17,953,929 in 2010/2011, meaning the amount lost this month amounts to just under �900,000.

Bob Archer, Redbridge Teachers Association president, said: “This is an outrageous attack on the education system.

“We have headteachers wondering how to save money and save jobs and then this comes along and kicks them in the behind.”

The Department for Education insists that there will be no reduction in how much each pupil gets overall, but that the School Standards Fund will instead by transferred to the Dedicated Schools Grant.

The DfE said: “Schools will receive the same amount of money as last year and local authorities should be spending the same amount of money on them. We have written to local authorities with advice on the payment arrangement changing.”

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But Cllr Steve Reed, from London Councils, said he was “concerned” about the impact of the “sudden and unexpected cut.” He added: “Notifying local authorities of funding cuts a week before the end of the financial year is simply not acceptable.”

Across London councils which have signed off their final schools budgets are facing a �28.3million shortfall.

This week Redbridge Council remained unsure about how the changes will affect schools in the borough.

A spokesman said: “The council does not feel it is wise to speculate about the size of any potential cut or its affect on council services until it has received clarity from the Department for Education on this issue which it expects to receive towards the end of this week.”