SCHOOLS in Worcestershire fear they are facing a funding crisis unless changes are made to their budgets.

Headteachers have lined up to criticise the money given to the county's schools this year and say plans for fairer funding in the long run do not go far enough.

They fear that they will have to lay off teachers and reduce the breadth of the curriculum they offer to balance the books.

Now, a letter spelling out fears about future funding has been sent to Prime Minister Theresa May telling her the proposals are falling short.

Worcestershire County Councillor Marc Bayliss, who is cabinet member for children and families, was among representatives from the f40 group, which represents underfunded authorities, to sign the letter.

In it, the group argues that plans to reform school funding with a new national funding formula risked "replacing one injustice with another."

The group argues that proposals for funding to be earmarked for schools based on additional needs or deprivation was diverting too much money away from basic funding.

They also believe the basic rates should be applied consistently to all - but the government's current proposals say that no school should lose more than three per cent of its budget in the changes, meaning that previously overfunded authorities will remain permanently better off.

The letter read: "Schools in lower funded areas have been making cuts for many years now and have reached the limit of where cuts can be made.

"We recognise the work that the Department for Education has undertaken in supporting schools in making efficiencies, but we are struggling to understand where more cuts can be made in the lowest funded authorities.

"On top of this, all schools are facing significant additional costs which the government does not intend to pay for, including the removal of the Education Support Grant later this year."

The latest letter comes after headteachers in Worcestershire wrote to MPs to complain of a funding crisis.

Clive Corbett, headteacher at Pershore High School and chairman of the Worcestershire Schools Forum, wrote that funding was now so dire he could see no way forward other than deficit budgets or staff redundancies.

He said: "The magic wand will work no longer."

Mark Pollard, head at Bishop Perowne CE College, said: "In real terms, we have seen a cut of nearly £40,000 compared to last year.

"Despite being forever promised a better deal for Worcestershire schools, this has yet to materialise in the amount of money arriving in school.

"I share the concerns of other headteachers that unless something changes, the funding crisis will have a detrimental impact on the education of the young people we serve.”

The government is consulting on its plans for fairer funding.

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