Government cuts on Sandwell schools are impacting upon both staff and children.
Pressures to provide a ‘non-deficit’ budget by Educational Leaders in Sandwell have led to one school leadership team to make personal decisions which will significantly disadvantage them financially. In short, they are forfeiting their salary to enable continued effective running of the school.
Ocker Hill Infants is a small, community orientated school with a committed and experienced staff team. They are a feeder school to Ocker Hill Academy which provides education to ‘focus provision children’, as a result, they proportionately educate an above average number of Special Educational Needs pupils.
Reports confirm that in an attempt to ensure funding for Support Staff, both the Head Teacher, along and another colleague, resorted to reducing their working hours to save money.
In addition to this, as funding has been cut further, the same Head Teacher has also forfeited her own personal pension contributions to save jobs at the school. It is understood that a second member of the leadership team is committed to doing the same. Essentially, teaching staff are paying for their pupils’ education out of their own pockets.
Locally, Support Staff have had their terms and conditions eroded, lost working hours, while workloads have increased. Support Staff are experiencing the brunt of cutbacks.
Children with Special Educational Needs suffer with schools struggling to fund the additional support they need within classrooms. Parents are asked to contribute more and more to their children’s education.
Louise Harrisen-Powis, Assistant Branch Secretary for Sandwell UNISON stated, “It is totally unacceptable for teaching staff to make financial sacrifices to keep our schools running. Sandwell Council should resist government cuts and prioritise pupil need and staff well-being above budgets. We urge Sandwell Council to review the circumstances at Ocker Hill Infants so that pupils and staff are afforded the support required.”