A HEAD teacher has said the “dire position” of finances has forced her school to make nine staff redundant.

Prettygate Infant School in Colchester will lose its deputy head teacher and eight Learning Support Assistants, some of whom work at the Junior School.

All have taken voluntary redundancy and are due to leave their roles before the school summer holidays,

Executive head Rita Tingle, who is soon to retire from the school after 30 years, said: “I have never known our school finances to be in such a dire position.

“Hence the unfortunate need for redundancies among staff, all of whom have given loyal service to the school.

“Staff are the most important resource we have and without them, no matter how hard we try, our educational offer is reduced.

“The Department for Education mantra in response to the pleas of head teachers and governors, is that school funding in England is at its highest ever level.

“This is factually true but so is the fact that while our budgets were standing still for eight years, the things that schools need to spend money on have continued to rise in cost.

“To compound this, a number of decisions, especially in relation to national insurance, pensions and pay have imposed additional costs on schools.

“Now add in a low birthrate year and availability of extra school places in Colchester, the consequence of which is that the school is not full in September and you can see why we are in terrible trouble.”

Each unfilled pupil place impacts on a school’s budget.

Mrs Tingle added: “I am terribly sad I have had to preside over the dismantling of provision I have spent my professional life dedicated to developing. “

She has invited parents to sign a 650-strong signature petition from the north Essex area Funding for Schools campaign, to lobby Education Secretary Damian Hinds for more cash for schools in time for this September’s spending review.

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Adele Jennings, petition founder said her survey among schools in the area revealed three quarters have had to make staff redundant or are likely to in the next year, due to budget cuts.

She added: “A big part of a school’s budget is teachers and LSAs and schools have just been cutting back and cutting back.

“They are spending less on IT budgets, photocopiers – it has gone over that point, where people are the next ones to go.”