Hard-up schools facing cuts

MANY Norfolk schools could lay off teachers and support staff and pare back services after being told to find big savings over the next three years.“Worried sick” heads will have to cut 2.

MANY Norfolk schools could lay off teachers and support staff and pare back services after being told to find big savings over the next three years.

“Worried sick” heads will have to cut 2.5pc from their budgets in 2011/12 and again in 2012/13 because of a caustic combination of falling pupil numbers and reduced real-terms government funding.

Funding for this financial year, which begins on April 1, is up slightly overall - but is an effective cut once inflation is taken into account.

The total cut of at least 5pc amounts to as much as �400,000 over two years for the largest high schools, ranging to five-figure sums for the smallest rural primaries.

Heads at some of the small rural schools are worried about how they will deliver the curriculum with reduced staff.

The straitened times bring to an end 13 years of relative plenty in schools, which funded extra teachers, an army of support staff and billions of pounds of new or refurbished buildings.

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There are now worries that looming years of reduced budgets will cancel out the staffing enhancements, with nervous teachers, teaching assistants and cover supervisors fearing the worst.