Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

School to Close Early to Save Cash

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

School to Close Early to Save Cash

Article excerpt

A TOP-RATED primary says its being forced to slash the school day by 15 minutes in order to save cash.

Lowercroft Primary School in Bury is proposing to finish lessons at 3.15pm from September instead of 3.30pm.

The school is rated outstanding by Ofsted. But teachers say they have to plug a Pounds 45,000 funding gap after their budget was slashed.

Teaching time will not be affected but the pupils' lunchtime will be cut from an hour to 45 minutes.

The school plans to axe eight midday supervisors to save money and their duties will be taken over by teaching assistants, although the staffing shake-up will mean the school closing early.

It comes as hundreds of schools across the country are counting the cost of a government funding shakeup - with some headteachers even considering asking parents to stump up extra cash. And school leaders at the Bury primary school say they have no choice but to cut down the school day.

Headteacher Tessa Townsend said: "Our funding in recent years has remained largely static, but costs are increasing all the time, including staff wages and rises in National Insurance.

"This year, we are having to find Pounds 45,000 to balance the budget and, if we did not take action such as changing our lunchtime supervision arrangements, next year we would have to find Pounds 106,000.

This year having to balance Tessa "Ironically, a major factor in our budget difficulties is that Lowercroft is in a relatively affluent area with low levels of deprivation, therefore we receive much lower pupil premium funding than many other schools. We have been looking at every possible option to make the necessary savings while continuing to provide the highest levels of education and care to our pupils.

"So far, the response from parents to the lunchtime changes has been very low. The school's governors are due to meet to discuss the feedback and decide on the next step forward. …

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