EDUCATION CUTS IN COUNCIL BUDGET PROPOSALS

December 15, 2008 3:52 PM

Last week's announcement of the county council's proposal for next years council tax rise revealed the council is cutting £909,000 from this financial year's education spending plans.

Liberal Democrat councillors have worked through the weekend studying the background papers to the budget proposal. The full extent of the education projects ditched by the council's cabinet in the new budget plans can now be revealed.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, Liberal Democrat leader said:

"Just like the Government's budget, the devil is in the detail, after the headlines about the council tax rise the facts are revealed and the picture is grim. Major projects to support our county schools and children are being shelved. The cabinet plans to cut support for sick children at home and in hospital. These children shouldn't miss out on a good education and need the council's support to provide it. Shelving plans to survey education facilities in the county for asbestos, legionella or risk of fire is cost-cutting too far. "

Cllr Hilton added: "We will work hard over the coming weeks to make sure these cuts are reversed. People in the county must not suffer due to cabinet mismanaging the education budget both this year and next year."

Below are the details of some of the education projects that have been cut:

£108,000 to provide extra teachers for children in hospital & children who stay at home due to sickness.

£36,000 on criminal records bureau checks to ensure a minimum number of staff in schools and children's centres with CRB clearance.

£290,000 on school health & safety projects including asbestos surveys, legionella risk assessments, fire risk checks, safety glass inspections and oil tank upgrades.

£167,000 cut on essential support to special schools that was promised in June 2008. This promise has now been broken.

£50,000 professional support for teachers and improving curriculums for Gloucestershire school children.

£130,000 for more behaviour support teams in primary schools. 6 new staff will not be employed.

£80,000 financial training for schools.

£57,000 for pupil referral centres

Some of the most vulnerable children in the county will not have access to essential computer equipment at three pupil of pupil referral centres in Gloucester, the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.

Councillor Charmian Sheppard, Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet member for education said: "The cabinet are bankrolling next year's budget by cutting out commitments from this year's budget. Many of these projects have been planned in consultation with schools and headteachers from around the county. There is still time for these cuts to be reversed before the budget is finalised in February."