Education

Head teachers criticise Northamptonshire education cuts

Northamptonshire County Council HQ
Image caption The government ordered a review into the county council’s finances earlier this year

Two hundred head teachers and education leaders have signed an open letter to a county council criticising cuts that will hit child and education services.

Cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council is facing a potential budget shortfall of between £60m and £70m.

The letter from education leaders states the council savings plan “puts at risk the education and safeguarding of many vulnerable young people”.

The county said it was still consulting over the proposed savings.

The Conservative-led council’s leader Matt Golby said: “These are unprecedented times for us and as such we have a plan to address the financial challenges we now face.”

Image caption Northamptonshire County Council’s new headquarters opened in October

The county has found itself in such a poor financial position that two government-appointed commissioners are overseeing the authority, with one calling its finances “truly perilous”.

Now a pressure group called Educating Northants has been set up to campaign to protect services after the council published its Stabilisation Plan.

The letter said education leaders are particularly concerned with:

  • A £1.8m cuts to social care and the way this hits vulnerable families
  • Plans to cut £1.1m from the school transport budget
  • About £3.8m cuts to learning disability commissioning

The signed letter said: “It is unacceptable that vulnerable children and adults in our county should pay the price of financial mismanagement from unsatisfactory administrations.

“We therefore reject these proposed cuts to children’s services and ask that you find ways to achieving financial savings that are not at the detriment to… children and young people.”

Mr Golby said: “The Stabilisation Plan published alongside our latest financial reports show how we are now moving firmly towards stabilising our budget position.

“It must be noted that many of the proposals outlined in the headteachers’ letter will be subject to further engagement and consultation and will not be treated as isolated issues.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-45786263

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