Conservative Councillors on the County’s education committee (Education, Enterprise and Skills Cabinet Panel) have refused to support the action of the Chairman of the County’s headteachers’ committee (Schools Forum).
The Schools Forum Chair has written to the Education Minister at the Department for Education expressing deep concern about the funding crisis facing Hertfordshire Secondary Schools.
Senior County Education officers explained to the EES Cabinet Panel that in 2016/17 they predict an unfunded cut of £23m on top of ‘savings’ of £5m (£28m total). As a result of this massive cut to education they expect almost all the secondary schools in the county to run out of money and reserves. They also predicted that the situation would get worse as future funding is expected to be cut by almost £60m by 2020.
The Liberal Democrats proposed a motion asking that the Committee support the action of the Chairman of the Schools Forum by asking the Council Leader to simply write his own letter to the Department of Education in support, but all the Conservative Councillors voted against this simple request.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Mark Watkin, Opposition Spokesperson for Education commented “I am stunned. There was no disagreement about the loss of funding. There will inevitably have to be major changes in the way that schools operate and almost certainly there will be larger classes, fewer teachers and fewer teaching assistants as schools try to balance their budgets. Some schools will have to close their sixth forms. All we were asking is that the Committee supports the concerns expressed by the senior Headteachers in the County.”
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Paul Zukowskyj added “All we wanted was a letter of concern. But no. Apparently the Tories aren’t worried about a £60m cut to our schools. When Schools are writing to parents, as one now is, asking for donations so they can keep teachers from redundancy, to refuse to even express public concern shows a level of heartless I find difficult to believe.”