Campaign launched after drop in per-pupil funding at nearly all Welwyn Hatfield schools

PUBLISHED: 19:12 11 December 2018

MP candidate Rosie Newbigging (third from right) with Stop The Education Cuts in Welwyn and Hatfield campaigners outside The Ryde School, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOO

MP candidate Rosie Newbigging (third from right) with Stop The Education Cuts in Welwyn and Hatfield campaigners outside The Ryde School, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Government funding cuts across Welwyn Hatfield have meant that some schools have lost as much as £725 per pupil - even when class sizes are bigger.

According to figures from a campaign fronted by the National Education Union (NEU), every school but one has seen a reduction in annual education funding per pupil across Welwyn Hatfield since the financial year of 2015/16.

On average, for their upcoming 2019/20 funding, schools in Welwyn Hatfield have lost £178 per pupil per year compared to 2015.

Among the worst-hit schools is Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School, an academy whose income per pupil was £5,266 in 2015/16 - a figure that has shrunk to £4,932 for 2019/20.

That’s a loss of £334 per pupil in four years.

Homerswood Primary and Nursery School, a community school in WGC, has lost £349 per child.

Onslow St Audrey’s, an academy in Hatfield where nearly 40 per cent of pupils qualify for free school meals, has lost £476 of income per pupil.

The worst-hit of all, however, is Oaklands Primary School in Welwyn, which has seen a massive £725 drop in income per pupil since 2015.

Not all drops are as significant as this. Creswick Primary, has had a more manageable cut of £27, and for St John’s CofE Primary that figure is £32.

MP candidate Rosie Newbigging (left) hands out Stop The Education Cuts in Welwyn and Hatfield leaflets to parents outside The Ryde School, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOOMP candidate Rosie Newbigging (left) hands out Stop The Education Cuts in Welwyn and Hatfield leaflets to parents outside The Ryde School, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOO

Meanwhile, De Havilland Primary is unique in having an overall increase per pupil of £25 since 2015.

The WHT has contacted the schools for comment.

The cuts have prompted the founding of the Stop Education Cuts in Welwyn Hatfield campaign, which launched on Friday, December 7 outside the Ryde School.

The campaign has the backing of Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Rosie Newbigging.

Stop The Education Cuts in Welwyn and Hatfield hand out leaflets outside The Ryde School, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOOStop The Education Cuts in Welwyn and Hatfield hand out leaflets outside The Ryde School, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOO

Campaign spokesperson and parent governor Milena Nuti said before the launch: “Schools and colleges are being stretched to breaking point.

“We are campaigning so the government recognises what is actually going on in schools as a result of its policies: larger class sizes, reduced numbers of learning support staff, lack of funding for special needs, mental health concerns, staff redundancies and not enough money to fund pay increases, erosion of curriculum choice, school buildings in need of repair and extra costs for school budgets like pension contributions.

“Staff do an incredible job every day ... but they are being thwarted by ongoing and unsustainable cuts.”

The Ryde School’s head, Sue Thompson, is so concerned about funding cuts she wrote to parents urging them to get political and contact Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps about it.

Mr Shapps offered to meet with Mrs Thompson in response, saying “I am very keen to ensure that our children get the education they deserve.”

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has also responded to recent education cuts discussions by joining the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nursery Schools to call for a guarantee that extra funding for maintained nurseries will continue beyond 2020, when it is currently set to end.

The NEU figures are taken from the government’s Education Funding Agency.

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