Hundreds of small, rural schools fear budget cuts will force them to close

Hundreds of small, rural schools in England are under intense financial pressure and are concerned about the possibility of closure, according to new research.

The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) estimates there are 3,475 small schools nationally with fewer than 150 pupils. Their findings suggest that about 1,460 are worried they could shut.

Tittensor First School in Staffordshire has 76 pupils.

"It's more difficult for small schools obviously because we've got a smaller number of children but we still need to put teachers in front of classes so without the classes being full it's very difficult to be able to find that teacher," headteacher Emily Proffitt said.

"It's also difficult because we don't have the same level of leadership. So in our school for example I am the leadership.


"I am the headteacher and there's nothing underneath me in the hierarchy that means that when you're looking at making cuts there is very little to cut so we're already down to the bare bone and there's nothing more to cut in to."

Like many schools, Tittensor depends on parents to pay for extra activities or fundraising.

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One parent said: "I know how difficult it is for teachers to afford even basic needs like pencils and paper and if it wasn't for the help of the Parents, Teachers and Friends Association and all the fundraising we have to do now the children wouldn't get that."

Another said: "The children are all thriving and really happy but you've got the cost of maintaining the whole building and the overheads of it so you've got to be realistic. With government cuts can it survive? Hopefully it can."

There is a £40bn budget for schools in England.

The Department for Education says that small and remote schools get additional funding of £25m. Some say it is not enough.

"The feedback we get from our survey is that school budgets are now at breaking point and have been for quite some time actually," Steven George from the NAHT said.

"The data that we collect year on year suggests that seven out of 10 school budgets are at breaking point right now and data that we are publishing todRead More – Source