Big budget cuts for north east Fife schools

Madras.
Madras.

Concerns have been expressed about the possible impact of funding cuts to schools in north east Fife.

Fife Council’s budget for Bell Baxter is £272,688 lower than 2017, while Madras has been asked to make savings of £266,726.

The figures are the highest and second highest savings of the 18 secondary schools in the Kingdom.

Only two other schools – Balwearie and Inverkeithing – had their budgets cut by six figures.

Councillor Linda Holt said the cuts will “add to the strain on staff, parents and pupils”.

She added: “The administration is cutting millions from Fife’s education budget. The only way this can be achieved is by losing teachers, which means fewer subject choices and larger class sizes.

“While some high schools in Fife are receiving an increase in funding, Madras and Bell Baxter are among the only four whose cuts run to the hundreds of thousands. Why are north east Fife high schools being targeted so savagely?

“Fife Council needs to stop hiding behind head teachers and be upfront with parents, pupils and staff about what these “savings” mean. With the best will in the world, it is absurd to pretend that the education of Fife’s children will not be harmed by such relentless cost-cutting.”

Head of Education and Children’s Services Peter McNaughton said Fife Council would be looking to give “more discretion to head teachers to use their staffing budget to best suit their school”.

He added: “The quality of teaching and learning in our schools remains fundamental to our ambitions for our young people and a fairer, stronger Fife. Next session (2018-2019) we will be considering, with teaching staff and unions, new ways to make sure each school has a fair allocation of budget according to its size. When there are formal proposals in place, we will follow all the usual consultation procedures.

“We are facing budget challenges and we are required to make savings. We do this over time and in a planned manner. The saving that was agreed in the budget was to review the budget allocation formulae for secondary teacher staffing and all supply cover within the devolved school management scheme. This should deliver more equal and targeted distribution reflecting current requirements.

“As always, our focus is on the best possible outcomes for children and young people and their future life chances.”