County faces loss of all nursery schools

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Education Correspondent

A county says it may have to close all its nursery schools and classes if spending on education is not increased next year.

In a report to be discussed by Warwickshire's education committee next week, Ed Wood, the education officer, said it would need an extra pounds 9.4m to keep provision as it is. Without the money, the authority would have to close its nine nursery schools, 24 nursery classes attached to primary schools and two parent centres.

The county could be open to legal challenge over cuts it would be forced to make to its youth service and provision for children with special educational needs, he added. Mr Wood has also proposed cuts of pounds 1m to sixth-forms' budgets, with the loss of between 40 and 60 teaching jobs.

The budget cuts could also mean the closure of schools' "out of hours" clubs and a cut of more than half in the schools structural maintenance budget. Last night, Mr Wood said Warwickshire had already been forced to cut pounds 9m from its budget in the current financial year. Despite this, the county was still spending 5 per cent more on education than the Government said it should.

"We are in a Catch-22 situation and we are facing a funding crisis. This list of cuts is deadly serious if we want to protect school budgets," he said.

Seamus Crowe, head of St Francis Middle School in Bedworth and a prominent member of the Fight Against Cuts in Education pressure group, Face, said: "This is horrendous. We want adequate funding and we want fair funding throughout the country."