General Election 2019: The school facing a £30,000 deficit whilst another cuts half a day off school week

General Election 2019: Ely hustings. (From Left): Lucy Frazer, James Bull, John Elworthy (chair) Edm

General Election 2019: Ely hustings. (From Left): Lucy Frazer, James Bull, John Elworthy (chair) Edmund Fordham and Pippa Heylings., Picture; SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Schools funding exploded into an 11th hour election issue during the hustings debate in Ely on Saturday.

Labour candidate James Bull produced a letter sent out by the head of Robert Arksentall primary school at Haddenham explaining why it faced a possible £30,000 shortage.

Mr Bull also revealed that another school - at Fulbourn - had been forced to reduce the school week to four and a half days because of budget shortages.

"Both tell a very different story indeed to that which Lucy Frazer is trying to paint of funding which she is claiming to have won for our local schools," said Mr Bull.

"Schools across SE Cambridgeshire are in crisis after nearly ten years of underfunding."

Ms Frazer is confident funding for schools in Cambridgeshire is getting better.

During a recent meeting with education minister Gavin Williamson she said that schools in SE Cambridgeshire would get a budget increase "boosting standards and giving parents and hard-working teachers much needed certainty."

Most Read

Kate Bonney, the head of Robert Arkenstall school, Haddenham said she won't know her final budget figures until early in the New Year ""but we anticipate that our financial position at the end of the 2020-2021 year could be a deficit budget of approximately £30,000".

She says that Cambridgeshire schools are currently being consulted by county council on different options for the funding for schools.

"For Robert Arkenstall Primary School, depending on the final outcome to the consultation, we are designated to receive £3,750 per pupil in 2020-2021 as their minimum funded guarantee from the DfE," she said.

"This is less than the average for Cambridgeshire and less than the national average minimum funding guarantee of £4,280 per child for primary schools - this is a potential difference of £15,900 for each class of 30 children."

For Robert Arkenstall, this would mean a difference of £159,000

Ms Bonney said: "We are likely to see costs increase for services we receive from the local authority.

"We are likely to see the funding we receive for children with special educational needs go down."

She added: "Per pupil school funding is based on a single census day in October but at this school many children arrive or leave during the year meaning that we frequently have more children in school than we are funded for."