The future of rural primary schools in Suffolk has been put in doubt as the true impact of real-term funding cuts to education in the county is exposed.
The Labour Group at Suffolk County Council has questioned whether the government has removed the long-term viability of rural primary schools in Suffolk with the latest funding formula and is demanding that the local authority does more to ensure the sustainability of schools in the county.
This comes after it was revealed that the top eight Suffolk schools who will suffer the largest drop in per pupil funding are all rural primary schools with less than eighty pupils, information revealed by analysis of the website Schools Cuts.
It shows shows that Mendham Primary School will suffer an extraordinary £2,871 drop per pupil, a figure that will represent a near £150,000 cut to the school’s income. Bentley CEVC Primary School are facing a £1,113 per pupil drop in funding with the other worst affected schools – Dennington CEVC Primary School, Yoxford and Peasenhall Primary School, Otley Primary School, Barnby and North Cove Community Primary School, Bedfield CEVC Primary School and Worlingworth CEVC Primary School – will have to absorb cuts of between £616 – £879 per pupil.
Stradbroke High School, a rural school with less than 275 pupils, will suffer the biggest drop in per pupil funding for any secondary school in Suffolk – £473 per pupil.
Labour’s Education spokesperson on Suffolk County Council is demanding that schools in rural communities are given better support.
Cllr Jack Abbott said that; “The Conservative government might argue that they are looking to produce a similar level of per pupil funding across Suffolk, but the reality is that many rural schools are already at the limits of their budgets – they simply cannot absorb the huge cuts in income the government is proposing here.
“Suffolk is a largely rural country and we should be supporting our rural communities, not driving them into unsustainability. These funding cuts, coupled with Suffolk County Council’s home-to-school transport proposals, could prove to be a fatal cocktail for some schools and will permanently damage education in rural Suffolk.”
According to the School Cuts website, Suffolk schools could be hit with a £7.8 million funding decrease by 2020, with 193 out of the county’s 276 schools facing cuts.
The School Cuts website can be found at www.schoolcuts.org.uk