Budget cuts could shorten school day

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The Independent Online

Schools in the country's largest education authority are warning they will have to reduce their teaching hours if planned cuts to next year's budget go ahead.

Headteachers in Kent are being urged to protest to David Miliband, the School Standards minister, over a planned £33m reduction in the county's share of the national education budget.

Members of Kent's schools liaison forum, made up of headteachers and governors, said the cuts will mean some schools have to close for part of the week to make the necessary savings.

The forum, set up to advise the local authority on its budget, also warned more teachers will lose their jobs, class sizes will rise and pupils' education will suffer if the cuts occur. "Without an additional grant from the Government, schools will need to reduce expenditure even further," Hadrian Southern, the forum's chairman, said in a letter to headteachers.

The proposed cuts are designed to give more funding to cash-strapped authorities in the North.

"This redistribution is having a disastrous effect on schools in Kent and other south-east authorities," Mr Southern said. Ministers are expected to finalise next year's settlement in the next fortnight.