A HEADTEACHER has warned he may be forced to make teachers redundant if his current funding crisis continues.

Goddard Park Primary School headteacher Mike Welsh criticised the government, dismissing the £400m for schools announced in last week’s budget as crumbs.

The Park North school boss said: “In my school we’ve never been in deficit before and now we’re facing a five figure deficit next year and a six figure deficit the year after.

“The little crumbs we’ve been given by Philip Hammond for the nice little extras will go on the bottom line, because nearly 90 per cent of our income goes on teachers.”

He hinted that staff may face the chop if Goddard Park’s funding situation did not improve: “Like all schools we don’t want to make teachers and teaching assistants redundant. The only way we’re going to save six figures in two years’ time is by taking action.

“That’s completely the wrong direction for a school that’s in one of the poorest wards in the south west of England and getting great results. It's now in jeopardy with the spending crisis.”

Mr Welsh, a headteacher of 32 years, said the money invested in state education was failing to keep up with staffing costs and growing numbers of children entering the school system. He added: “Schools in Swindon and schools nationally will be suffering because of this funding crisis. Parents are angry about this. Governors are angry about this.”

Liz Horrobin, headteacher at Ferndale Community Primary School, said her teachers were having to be more inventive in how they delivered the curriculum as the purse strings tightened.

“There’s a big push on a creative curriculum, but the more they tighten the budget, the less freedom we have to be able to give the children those opportunities,” she said.

Labour has criticised Philip Hammond’s £400m giveaway in last week’s budget, calling it insulting. Sarah Church, the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, said: “It is extremely disappointing that more money will be invested in potholes than in making sure schools can provide the education that will really ensure our country’s future in an educated and skilled workforce.

“I asked Robert Buckland to lobby on behalf of our schools in the lead up to this budget and was met with silence.

“The chancellor has thrown scraps to hardworking teachers for little extras rather than real resources. This is simply not good enough for our children.”

Responding, Robert Buckland MP said: “The £400m is welcome news. I understand the concerns of heads like Mike Welsh and will make sure their voices are heard. This year we have given every local authority more money for every pupil in every school. School spending is rising in real terms.

“1.9m more children are attending good or outstanding schools compared with 2010. We are protecting the schools’ budget in real terms, so that by 2020 we will be spending 50 per cent more per pupil than in 2000.

“Labour have yet to apologise for their funding formula that meant Swindon schools were consistently underfunded before 2010. Labour’s own figures show that we will be investing more than £700m more in schools in 2020 than 2015 in real terms.”

In September, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said in a report on school funding that the total spending per pupil has dropped by eight per cent in real terms between 2009/10 and 2017/18. The think tank said this was largely down to a 55 per cent cut in council budgets and falls in sixth form funding. Primary and secondary school funding per pupil had remained more stable, they said. It peaked in 2015.