Saturday, 8 July 2017

School places contract in Sid Valley - just as housing numbers are set to rise

The pressures are piling up for local services - especially schools.

With teachers leaving the profession in huge numbers:
Almost a quarter of teachers who have qualified since 2011 have left profession | Education | The Guardian

... and funding being squeezed:
Futures Forum: 'New formula in funding will mean no school loses' > but: 'schools still face real terms, per pupil, reductions to their funding'
Futures Forum: Devon schools receive £290 per pupil less than the England average - and that is about to get even worse

... it is proving very difficult for schools in Devon:
Futures Forum: The general election in the West Country: the issues >>> education

A question remains as to - 
How are we going to cope with greater demands for services with the expected increase of population through more housing?
Futures Forum: Housing numbers projected for East Devon >>> >>> >>> "The total number of homes built during the 18 year Local Plan period could be as high as 23,000" - rather than the "17,000 minimum figure of housing need outlined by the new Local Plan."
Futures Forum: Housing in East Devon: "Why has the District Council opted for such high growth level?" >>> in contrast to consultants' reports and government growth projections

But this is totally irrelevant to Sidmouth as all the housing proposed so far will be for the elderly - who have no children of school age:
Futures Forum: Knowle Relocation Project: How to classify the proposed development: as C3 housing or as C2 care home?
Futures Forum: District Council gives way in Sidford over affordable housing: “Under government guidance, we are required to reduce our requirements where a development is unviable and so we have no real choice but to accept this position.”

Or for the holiday home owner - who is not bothered by the provision of 'local services':
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> "BIG seafront development plans ... lots of income for land-holding EDDC and big income potential"

Things have proved particularly difficult, not only for Sidmouth College, however:

Sidmouth Primary School to mix classes following funding reduction

PUBLISHED: 12:27 07 July 2017

Sidmouth Primary School is cutting its number of key stage two classes for the next academic year from 12 to 10 due to a reduction in its funding

From September, pupils will be taught in mixed age groups, combining year threes with year fours, and year fives with year sixes, in a move to make savings.
In a letter to parents, executive headteacher Paul Walker said it had been a ‘challenging year’ for the school’s finances - as its total funding is nearly £300,000 less when compared to 2015.
The funding, which is calculated on a per pupil basis, has been further impacted by cuts and reductions by Devon County Council and the Government.
One parent told the Herald she was concerned about the educational spectrum staff would be required to teach. The mum, who has two children at the school, said: “I know the teachers will do their very best. This cost-cutting exercise means that teachers will be teaching an incredibly broad spread of abilities within the same class - they will have to differentiate hugely to cater for the weakest year five and strongest year six pupil, for instance.
“Year five parents are concerned that their children will be ‘left to get on with it’ when teachers are trying to prepare the year six pupils for the farcical SATs. There are many concerned and angry parents.”
Mr Walker reassured parents it was not unusual to mix year groups. He said the school has mixed classes on its infants’ site.
“If we run 12 classes and stayed as we are, we would be in a serious financial difficulty and we are not allowed to be,” said Mr Walker.
“We have to balance our books, as anyone has to.
“It is different at key stage two. We haven’t had mixed-aged classes for a long time. It’s not unusual, it’s just different for these age groups.
“If we did not take action this year, next year we would be in a far worse position.”
He said the school had looked at all possible avenues to make savings and to have fewer classes would maintain financial sustainability and provide children with a good education and experiences.
Mr Walker said staff have always taught a wide spectrum of abilities and that many of the key stage two teachers have worked in this way before.
“The pupil numbers will always dictate funding,” said Mr Walker. “At the same time, any increase we can get can only have a positive impact.”

Sidmouth, education, funding, - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

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