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Sign Our Petition! Suspend the Safety Valve programme and provide funding to cover SEND deficits

Can Your Child's School Afford These Budget Cuts?

Learn how BCP schools will have to do much more with much less money

Can Your Child's School Afford These Budget Cuts?
By: Rachel Filmer  | 

Can your child’s school afford budget cuts and the pressure of more challenging pupils in their classrooms, at the same time?

BCP schools are already facing huge real-term cuts of £8.4m next year. That’s an average of £176 for each of your children, but for some schools it’s much worse - over £400 per pupil in some cases. I’m sure you are already aware of how these financial pressure are affecting your child’s school and their staff. Think about what this will mean for your children at school.

BCP could soon enter a deal with the Department for Education that will further impact your children’s schools in three major ways:

1) taking 0.5% of their budget this coming year (£1.3m) and 1% a year after that (£2.7m next year)

2) Cutting spend on services for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). In real terms, that means that it will take longer for children to get the help they need than it already does, and what’s available will be reduced

3) Placing more children with the most significant needs in mainstream schools

Think about what this will mean for your child’s class and education. How can schools be expected to do so much more, with so much less money?

This is the “Safety Valve” deal you may have heard discussed in the press. It is complicated, but essentially it means taking some money in exchange for meeting financial targets to reduce spend on SEND provision. The initial investment, less than £5m, won’t plug the gap.

BCP are doing this because they currently have debt of £63m due to their funding of SEND services. This debt is ringfenced until 2026, but when that ends, BCP and many other local authorities would go bankrupt.

However, this deal doesn’t pay off the existing debt so even making these substantial cuts won’t prevent bankruptcy. There needs to be a national solution to this problem, with some local authorities already calling for £4.6bn in additional funding to resolve this issue.

On 20th February, there is a full council meeting where our councillors will make decisions about this issue and the budget, which contains hugely concerning cuts to children’s services, adult services and many other things. There will also be a debate on Safety Valve and a petition with over 2,400 signatures against it will be shared.

We need to show those councillors attending that we, those who elect them, are against this agreement and these cuts. A strong public presence at that meeting will show them how we feel and may affect the decisions made that evening.

Therefore, we are holding a protest at 6pm on 20th February outside Bournemouth town hall. I would love as many of you to join us as possible, whether you’re a parent, family member or educator. I started this group because I’m so concerned about the impact this will have on all of our children and schools. We absolutely must stand together to protect our children and our schools.

You can also follow us on social media.

For more information on Safety Valve in BCP, have a look at our FAQs