On Monday at Sutton’s Council meeting, opposition Councillors refused to debate a motion proposed by Cllr Jenny Batt over funding pressures facing Sutton’s schools as a result of the government’s new national funding formula.
Schools are facing real terms cuts in funding of 8% between 2014/15 and 2019/20 which is resulting in a loss of support staff, growing class numbers and a reduced curriculum. There is concern over how this is effecting Sutton’s children and putting their education at risk. Opposition Councillors abstained from the vote.
Cllr Jenny Batt, Vice-Chair of the People Committee, stated:
"We should be rightly proud of the excellent schools in this borough and that we have some of the best schools in the country but I am concerned about how these funding pressures are affecting our schools and putting the education of Sutton’s children at risk.
"We know that schools in Sutton are facing significant financial pressures, as are many schools in the country, and it is vital that this is addressed. It is disappointing that the opposition did not join in this debate and refused to provide cross-party support for this motion."
The motion went on to describe the financial pressures on the High Needs Block for pupils with special educational needs and that all London Boroughs are forecasting a deficit budget next year.
Cllr Drew Heffernan, seconding the motion, commented:
"Funding for children with special educational needs is under huge pressure and schools are not able to provide the resources that are needed and after nearly a decade of cuts, Councils are not in a position to plug the gap.
"If we are going to ensure that all children are given the help they need to succeed, the Government desperately needs to review their position. The Government’s recent announcement of extra funding for SEND pupils over the next two years is welcome but it is not a long-term solution and there needs to be a review of how SEND services are funded."
The Leader of the Council will now write to both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education calling for changes to the Government’s funding formula to ensure continuing excellent education for all pupils in Sutton Schools.