Catholic Schools have warned that children’s education will be significantly disadvantaged.

Justine_GreeningHammersmith and Fulham is one of the worst affected boroughs in London, with schools facing a £2.8m slash in funding

Cuts to funding for urban schools will hit the poorest children, teachers warn Catholic Schools have warned that children’s education will be significantly disadvantaged by the Government’s proposed school funding shake up, the biggest in decades.

Under the planned National Funding Formula (NFF), which was under consultation until this week, schools in London and other urban areas will lose funding to schools that have previously received less money in an attempt to even out historical inconsistencies in the funding system.

Schools are already facing an eight per cent real-terms cut in funding per pupil by 2019-20 as a result of £3bn worth of cuts, the National Audit Office announced in December. The changes outlined in the new funding formula will mean further cuts on top of this for some schools.

“The proposed redistribution of funds will seriously destabilise the ability of schools in London to continue to offer an outstanding education to children,” said head teacher Imogen Lavelle of Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

“As a small Catholic school these changes are very, very serious,” she told The Tablet.

Under cuts to funding last year, the school has already been forced to reduce all specialist teachers and to stop offering art and French. They have reduced music lessons, drama lessons and cookery lessons; restructured staff and cut two teaching assistant posts, explained Ms Lavelle.

Under the planned NFF the school will be subject to further cuts.

“We do not wish to reduce our curriculum offer further and cannot reduce our staff further,” wrote Ms Lavelle in a letter, seen by The Tablet, addressed to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education (pictured). Explaining that she would be forced to cut further Teaching Assistant roles, compromising mental and emotional support offered to children, Ms Lavelle added: “As head teachers I believe we will all be forced to take decisions that will have a negative impact on children, but there is no choice.”

Hammersmith and Fulham is one of the worst affected boroughs in London, with schools across the borough facing a £2.8m slash in funding if the NFF goes ahead.

The London Oratory School, also within the borough, sent a letter to parents at the end of February asking them to contest the proposals. The school, stood to lose £165,000 per annum under the NFF, wrote chairman of the Governors, Paul Thimont, adding: “Cuts of this size can only be achieved by reducing staffing levels.”

Clare Hogg, head teacher of St Thomas More Catholic High School in Crewe told the BBC Today Programme that her school stood to lose £80,00 during the first year alone under the planned NFF.

The cuts would impact support for students, particularly those with special needs or those who speak English as a second language, she said.

“We are an affluent area but we still need funding to support vulnerable students”, she explained.

By Rose Gamble – The Tablet

PICTURE: Education Secretary Justine Greening who is facing fresh pressure over the controversial shake-up of school funding