Hartlepool school facing job losses as ‘severe’ funding cuts force primary to consider redundancies

Fens Primary School in Mowbray Road, Hartlepool.
Fens Primary School in Mowbray Road, Hartlepool.

A Hartlepool primary school is looking at potential staff redundancies due to ‘severe’ funding cuts.

Fens Primary School, in Mowbray Road, says it has done everything it can to save money but job losses are now likely.

Martlepool MP Mike Hill.

Martlepool MP Mike Hill.

Just last week town education chiefs complained of having to apply to central government for funding for ‘essential’ services for pupils in schools for the third year in a row.

But the Department for Education says it is giving schools more funding which in Hartlepool’s case amounts to almost £1 million.

Peter Cornforth, headteacher at Fens Primary School, said: “Schools across the country are facing a funding crisis, and our school is not alone in feeling the impact of severe cuts and tightening budgets.

“We have worked tirelessly to make cost reductions wherever possible, but unfortunately the school is now considering the likelihood of redundancies.

Fens Primary School in Mowbray Road, Hartlepool.

Fens Primary School in Mowbray Road, Hartlepool.

“Our staff and Governors are aware of the difficult situation we are in, and I must stress at this stage that no formal proposals have been agreed.

“Our staff work extremely hard to make a difference to the lives of our pupils, and parents can rest assured that our priority is to continue to provide the highest quality of teaching and learning possible.”

MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill said he would lobby the Government together with the council for the town’s schools to receive the funding they need.

He said: “While Hartlepool schools constantly prove to be top performing this is an example of where government underfunding is hitting education at the coal face.

“The fact that Fens, and possibly more schools, are looking at redundancies is a sad indictment of the situation we find ourselves in.”

In January, the council wrote to the Government after councillors complained about ‘minimal increases’ under the Government’s new National Funding Formula.

And at the most recent meeting of the council’s Children’s Services Committee members hit out at the lack of central government funding provided to schools.

Chair of the committee Councillor Brenda Harrison said: “How many years does this have to happen before we reach crisis point, we probably already have.”

The Department for Education said Hartlepool will receive a funding increase of 1.3% per pupil by 2019-20, compared to 2017-18, equivalent to an increase of £942,000, when pupil number changes are taken into account.

A spokesperson said: “Children only have one chance at an education – they all deserve the best.

“That is why we are investing in our education system and our National Funding Formula is giving every local authority more money for every pupil in every school.

“We recognise though that there is more pressure on schools to do more, which is why we have taken a number of steps to help them get the best value for every pound.

“We are also helping schools save money on things like utility bills and other non-staff spend.”