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Letters: Fears over school funding

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SIR - I read with interest your article in the edition of 19th October on the subject of school funding and I thought I would share with you the results of a recent Freedom of Information request made to Hampshire County Council.

It revealed that for the coming financial year for which schools are planning, 2019/20, some 29% of schools forecast a budget deficit, with a shortfall totalling a little over £18m. This contrasts with around 5% of schools showing a deficit for the current year 2018/19. There is clearly a worrying upwards trend.

The county council tell us that Hampshire schools already receive among the lowest per pupil funding in the country. The current funding position is barely sustainable and should there be no increase in funding for future years, many schools will be faced with some very difficult decisions regarding staffing that will certainly have a negative effect on children's education.

I have referred the issue to our MP, Sir Desmond Swayne, who was able to offer no assurances regarding future funding.

There is a suggestion from Sir Desmond and the DFE that we as a country spend more per pupil that other comparable countries. This was revealed by the BBC to include university student tuition loans as well as the fees paid by private school pupils and clearly has no impact on Hampshire schools. This claim is currently under investigation by the UK Statistics Authority and the Office of Statistics Regulation.

This week's Budget offered only a sticking plaster for school education. The indication is that our politicians and government have little idea of the impending funding crisis in our schools and the clear implications for our children.

Tim Bradley

Governor, Ashley Junior School

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