Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

720 Children Sent Home as a School's Money Runs Out

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

720 Children Sent Home as a School's Money Runs Out

Article excerpt


THE funding crisis threatening schools will today mean for the first time that children will miss lessons.

More than 700 children were being sent home today from Edenham High School in Croydon which says it can no longer afford temporary staff to take the places of teachers who are ill.

Another school in the Croydon area, Coulsdon High School, has already warned Education Secretary Charles Clarke that it will have to bring in a fouranda-half-day week for its pupils from September because its budget shortfall will force it to make four teachers redundant.

Head teachers' leaders warned today that these schools could be just the first to cut classes, despite the emergency moves by the Government last week to allow schools to use money set aside for maintenance and repairs to pay teachers' wages if necessary.

At Edenham High School, head teacher Jonathan Parker said he would have to send 720 of the school's 1,200 pupils home after lunch today because he cannot afford supply staff to cover for absent teachers.

The children will miss two classes they would normally take during the afternoon.

Mr Parker said he would ensure that 15 and 16-year-olds currently taking GCSE exams at the school were not affected.

The school is facing a deficit of [pounds sterling]500,000 because it has not received enough cash to meet increases in costs this year, caused by teachers' pay rises and increases in National Insurance and pensions contributions. The Government blames Croydon council, which it says is one of the education authorities which have failed to pass on to schools increases in education funding which should have covered these costs.

Croydon denies the charge and head teachers' leaders say the increase in government funding, of [pounds sterling]2.7 billion across the country, simply was not enough.

Coulsdon High School has already warned the Government it will have to introduce a reduced school week from September. Head Colin McKinlay has written to Mr Clarke saying his [pounds sterling]170,000 deficit means he will have to make four staff redundant at the end of the summer term. …

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