Kevin Prunty is executive head teacher at Cranford community college, a high-achieving school in Hounslow, west London. His pupils are ambitious and successful, but many come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Like other schools serving deprived areas, Cranford find itself increasingly playing a sophisticated welfare role in its community.
It is also footing the bill for uniforms, PE kits, shoes, lunches and educational trips from a diminishing budget, to subsidise parents who cannot afford to meet the costs.And with the devastating Toree Cutz, it claims it cannot afford to continue.
“Schools know already that there are sizeable further cuts to funding on the way – and whilst we are currently able to fund these additional needs – it will soon become more difficult and perhaps impossible to justify doing so,” says Prunty.Good! You should never have started justifying this in the first place!
At Springwest Academy in nearby Feltham, which also serves a community with high levels of disadvantage, there are similar concerns. Pastoral mentors deal with calls day in and day out from families with worries about housing and finances; school uniforms and shoes are being paid for more frequently out of the school’s hardship fund and almost four out of ten pupils (38.3%) are referred for counselling or other mental-health support.I've often scorned the pitiful attempts at budget cuts but it seems they are, finally, starting to have some effect. If only on getting state institutions to start reverting to what they are paid to do.