Art, drama, languages ​​and geography will become “the preserve of private schools” as the government sector cuts a bite | school finance

Subjects including German, French, art, drama and design technology could soon be closed to many public school students as presidents say they have to cut expensive and less popular classes to tackle the crippling deficit.

The vast majority of English state schools expect to be in red by next school yeardue to massive energy bills and increasing unfunded teacher salaries.

Thousands of schools now Planning to make teachers and teaching assistants redundant or cut their hours. But unions and principals say that as schools are forced to ramp up class sizes, choice of subjects in secondary schools will suffer due to the abolition of heads of courses that have less capacity and teaching is less economical.

“Subjects that we have always seen as truly culturally important will increasingly become the preserve of private schools because public schools cannot teach them,” said Jeff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

He said observer That subjects attracting fewer pupils at GCSE and A-level, including drama, art, German and French, would all be at risk of exclusion, because “one teacher in 20 children will not be viable anymore”.

He said that subjects such as design technology, which are expensive because schools have to buy materials and classes can’t be large for safety reasons, would also be at risk.

He warned that valuable topics would quietly disappear. “Presidents do not want to put off parents by admitting that they are cutting off the German matriculation certificate because they cannot afford it. But it happens.”

Will Tess, Senior Instructor at Brookvale Groby Learning Campus, a secondary academy in Leicester, said: “We’re definitely looking at our options beyond 16 and which subjects with small groups and high staff costs we have to lose track of.” He said, “You have to have someone in front of the students so that the class sizes increase. I don’t know how the schools will run if the rooms are not big enough.”

School girls making models
The materials in which schools have to purchase the materials are also at risk. Photography: Avril O’Reilly/Almy

“For A-level, we are already in a position to make the subjects financially functional, you need at least 100 students in each year group,” said George MacMillan, executive director of Harris Academy Schools in Greenwich and Okendon in Essex. “Anything that is not popular enough cannot be run it”.

He said that many schools were already asking staff to teach subjects outside their major due to the lack of teachers, and this would increase as a result of the funding crisis. “Sciences are often taught by physical education teachers; computing, in which it has been difficult to find teachers for many years, is taught by mathematics teachers, often reluctantly,” he said. “If this is permanent, it becomes soul-destroying for the employees and they leave.”

He said the academies were afraid of being put into special proceedings by Ofsted for not offering a broad enough curriculum, but that there wasn’t enough money or staff to do it properly.

He predicted that schools would try to save money by replacing a “really good experienced teacher” with someone just starting out.

But he warned about it as the number of new trainees started Primary secondary teacher training decreased by 23% This year compared to 2019, “even finding a novice teacher is difficult.”

“If opportunities to develop language skills become the preserve of those who can afford private education, it will seriously reduce the potential of our future workforce,” said Adam Watt, Professional Vice Chancellor and Professor of French at the University of Exeter.

He argued that learning languages ​​such as French and German at school taught young people “communication skills, multitasking, flexibility of thought, and most importantly, awareness and openness to difference.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said that core funding for schools this year included a cash increase of £4 billion which will support them in providing a “broad and balanced curriculum”.

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