In an era of nationwide school funding cuts, the story of Frederick Bremer is perhaps the ultimate snapshot of the cuts agenda’s unthinking destruction. Watch a few minutes of this comprehensive onscreen, and it’s clear that it is the type of school any politician would praise: 900 enthusiastic kids, staff going the extra mile, even a dedicated special needs hub. But regardless, it is pushed to the brink. A cocktail of cuts, pension changes and inflation rises means by 2020 the school is facing a budget reduction of around £800,000 in real terms. That’s the equivalent of more than 20 teachers.
This would be damaging enough if the school was flush with spare change. But in the words of its headteacher, Jenny Smith, it is already running on “bare bones”. The 44-year-old has run the school for five years, but for the last two she has watched her budget get squeezed.
Primary and secondary school spending per pupil have almost doubled in real terms between 1997–98 and 2015–16.
Winding back a bit of G. Brown’s lashing the cash is austerity, you see?