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Schools warn they could introduce four-day weeks in major blow for families

Joe Harker

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| Last updated 

Schools warn they could introduce four-day weeks in major blow for families

Featured Image Credit: Nick Sinclair / Alamy Stock Photo / Simon Turner / Alamy Stock Photo

Schools are warning that they face a 'catastrophic' impact on their budgets and they could be forced to drop down to four-day weeks, with a significant cut in learning hours.

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A survey of 630 headteachers by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) found that 98 percent of the schools surveyed would have to make some sort of savings over the next few years as costs rise.

17 of the schools surveyed said they were even considering going as far as to slash the traditional five days of school a week down to four in an effort to save some money.

58 percent of schools surveyed are looking at laying off some of their teaching staff and making class sizes larger to save on money, while 55 percent are thinking about losing some of their teaching assistants to cut down on costs.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of schools are considering reducing the curriculum options offered to pupils as they want to find new places to make savings.

98 percent of schools are going to have to cut costs over the next few years. Credit: keith morris / Alamy Stock Photo
98 percent of schools are going to have to cut costs over the next few years. Credit: keith morris / Alamy Stock Photo

There are several things making it more expensive for schools to operate, with rising energy bills just one of the many things schools across the UK are having to contend with.

Costs are going up all across the board, including 'nationally agreed teacher and support staff pay awards' which the ASCL says has seen 'no additional government funding' made available to cover those.

Some schools are seeing their costs rise by £500,000 this year, the equivalent of being able to hire about 10 more teachers.

One headteacher surveyed said the financial issues they were facing were 'devastating', saying they'd put their 'heart and soul' into their school but would now have to made staff redundant and increase class sizes.

They said the situation had left them 'completely disillusioned' and concerned that all the improvements they'd made over 15 years would be 'eroded'.

Schools are looking at bigger class sizes, smaller curriculums, laying off teachers and even dropping down to a four day week as options. Credit: Peter D Noyce / Alamy Stock Photo
Schools are looking at bigger class sizes, smaller curriculums, laying off teachers and even dropping down to a four day week as options. Credit: Peter D Noyce / Alamy Stock Photo

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, called on the government to do something to avert a bleak future.

He said: "School leaders in this survey use words such as ‘catastrophic’ and ‘devastating’ to describe the financial situation they are facing and the impact on their pupils.

"It is clear that the future is bleak unless the government acts urgently. No government can claim to be serving the public interest by presiding over an education funding crisis which cuts provision and imperils standards.

"And no government which does so can expect to remain in power at the next General Election."

He said it was 'imperative' that new prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt 'make education a priority'.

Tyla has contacted the Department for Education for comment.

Topics: News, Money, Politics

Joe Harker
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