Published: 25 February 2010
by RICHARD OSLEY
THE Town Hall has held a summit with teachers and governors warning them to think about how to deal with significant cuts in their budgets.
The damage to secondary school coffers could be around 10 per cent.
The New Journal has been told how Conservative education chief Councillor Andrew Mennear gathered schools and union members together two weeks ago and told them to prepare for a much bleaker handout than in previous years. He said last night: “I felt it was better to be honest with the schools now so they can go back and think about what they can do. Then it won’t come as such a shock later on. Whatever government gets in, there is going to be less money for schools.”
Cllr Mennear would be not drawn on how he expected Camden’s schools to cope with large chunks carved out of their usual spending allowances but when the New Journal asked teaching unions about what lay ahead, the prediction was less staff and bigger class sizes.
“The reality is we are in an awful recession and we are warning schools now,” said Cllr Mennear. “The feedback we had from the meeting was good. Schools said it had been helpful. It might not be as bad as feared but we have to be prepared.”
Andrew Baisley, branch secretary at Camden NUT, said that the worst-case scenario would be somewhere down the line returning to the days when teachers had to be mindful on how much Pritt Stick they used in each class and out-of-date textbooks were shared between pupils.
He said: “The reason Camden is so well regarded for its education service is that enough money has been put in to ensure schools can operate at a good level. If you start taking money away, it will be hard to maintain that level.”