Schools losing out under new funding formula to be given cash for redundancies

Schools set to lose money under a new national funding system will this year be given government cash to pay for “restructuring” costs such as redundancies, it has emerged.

A Department for Education report on the proposals said some schools would lose funding under a new national funding formula that is due to be introduced from 2017-18.

These schools would be eligible for cash from a new “invest to save” fund from 2016-17, it said. The DfE says schools “will be free to decide how best to use this funding” but that it could include “financial, legal and HR advice” and in “extreme cases”, the cost of restructuring a school’s workforce.

It could also pay for schools to re-train teachers to teach different subjects from the ones they qualified in, according to the report.

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the ASCL school leaders’ union, told TES: “One of the outcomes of restructuring will inevitably be redundancies.” He said this could mean redundancies of teachers or of support staff, depending on a school’s situation.

“In principle we’d say that if schools have to make difficult decisions then any financial help would be much appreciated, but ideally we’d like sufficient funding in the system that schools wouldn’t have to do restructuring,” he said.

Pepe Di’Iasio, headteacher of Wales High School in Rotherham, told TES he knew of several local schools that were already making teachers redundant in a bid to save funds.

“I’m aware that in five neighbouring schools, redundancies [of teachers] have taken place this year,” he said, adding that some had cut as many as five teaching posts.

Redundancies tended to be among teachers of non-Ebac subjects, Mr Di’Iasio said, because schools were reducing the amount of curriculum time spent on these subjects.

He said that in some cases it could be appropriate to retrain a teacher to teach an in-demand subject. However, he said, he was reluctant to do this in many cases. “What you want is people that have a passion for their subject and have chosen it as their first option,” he said.

He said he expected his own school to lose out under the new national funding formula and would want to make use of any additional funding to cope with this, although he said he had no current plans for redundancies.

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