Schools in Barnet have been making staff redundant to balance their books as the funding crisis in education continues.

A report shows that while most of the borough’s schools achieved balanced budgets for the current year, several had to make “significant savings” in order to do so – including making redundancies.

Simon Horne, headteacher at Friern Barnet School, said his school had made 10 posts redundant this year.

He told Thursday’s (July 11) schools forum: “It shows some schools might be doing an awful lot of work to try and make those balances. The report paints a particular picture but does not give the full story, I think.

“If a school like mine is making 10 redundancies, I presume that is happening across the borough as well.”

Schools across the country have been struggling financially due to real-terms cuts to their funding.

While the Government has been putting more money into education, it is not enough to make up for the impact of inflation and extra costs such as higher National Insurance and pension contributions.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, per-pupil spending in England’s schools dropped by eight per cent between 2010 and 2018.

Some local authority-maintained schools have been joining academy chains to plug funding gaps, as this allows them to raise money from private sponsors.

In Barnet, five schools have temporary ‘licensed deficits’ and a recovery plan designed to bridge the funding gap carried forward from 2018-19.

Another six schools have been unable to set a balanced budget for 2019-20 and are in talks about licensed deficits with the council.

Gaspare Nicolini, senior finance business partner at Barnet’s Customer and Support Group, said: “The three-year planning from schools is getting a lot better.

“Schools know they might be alright this year; next year it might be difficult, if not impossible; and then going forward it looks dire.

“We are seeing that with the three-year plans, and with standard cost increases, pay and utilities and things like that – it is having an impact.”

Ian Harrison, director for education and skills at Barnet with Cambridge Education, said: “Simon is right – a lot of schools have had to make a lot of savings and restructure, and there have been a number of redundancies.

“The council understands that, which is why it has been lobbying for extra funding for schools.”