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Dept budget been slashed - is there any point me complaining?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ThereAreBunniesInMyHead, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    So I work in a creative, non core secondary subject. I'm a HOD and just been handed my dept budget for the year and found out that it has been slashed by 1/3 in comparison to last year. I've already spent 60% just on ordering stationary, set texts for the new spec, and photocopying! There's no way the remaining amount is going to last me all year.

    I know all school's are suffering budget cuts at the moment but is there ANY point in me complaining? I'm currently waiting for an attendance meeting to happen next week with SLT and I kind of don't want to draw attention to myself or look like a moaner for fear of them being even harsher with me in that meeting. But at the same time, I have no idea how I'm going to run my subject with this money.
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    If you don't complain they'll assume they can cut more next year.

    So submit your proposed expenditure with the implications of their cuts highlighted... Esp. Where it will impact on likely standards.
    galerider123, sabrinakat and muso2 like this.
  3. meggyd

    meggyd Senior commenter

    I would spend, spend, spend. Your budget runs presumably from April to March. You have 5 months left and I guess you have spent all you need in terms of books for this year. If you still have 40% left for consumables they will argue you have enough. Don't save up any money for a rainy day. They will claw it back.
    emerald52 and pepper5 like this.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide


    Yes, this.

    The right response to a revised budget being passed down to you by SLT is not to complain but to redo your detailed departmental budget showing your revised spending plans based on the new budget and pass it back to your line manager. As Frank says you will obviously point out to your line manager where the revised budget will impact on standards.

    What you should complain about though, and rightly so, is the timing. It's just plain incompetence to reduce your budget amount after the start of the year and after you have made spending commitments based on the budget originally advised to you.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You know the answer to your own question.

    It isn't "yes".
    sabrinakat likes this.
  6. mothorchid

    mothorchid Lead commenter

    It will probably have no impact, but you could argue for some extra money, over and above the new, reduced budget, on the grounds of the one-off costs associated with the setting up of a new spec. Worth a try, perhaps?
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Don't complain.


    Or rather - TRY to persuade.
    Pomz and pepper5 like this.
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I have experience of budgeting in my role - schools often want to have their cake and eat it with effective provision on a shoestring. What then happens is insanity like staff dipping into their own pockets, 'bids' for the pot of money that exists between departments - then it is he who shouts loudest (I would use a cruder analogy but this is a public forum!) - which is wrong, the quiet get overlooked when the Bible says THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH (Im not religious but this is the best line in the bible - period!)

    Of course, the cynic in me says some schools will cut to the bone and still 'find' silly money to build a new Reception say when the old one was perfectly adequate!

    In answer to your question it might be futile but I would fight!
    phlogiston and JohnJCazorla like this.
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Just outline all the stuff you won't be doing because of the loss of funds and as has been said make sure you tell them how this will affect results.
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. Tinycat1234

    Tinycat1234 Established commenter

    Hmmm I would broach it until after your meeting! You need to focus on this first.
    After your meeting with SLT, I would ask to have a chat with whoever is appropriate and discuss budget. Be positive and understanding about cuts. Explain what you have purchased (soend all he money now) and what you will not be able to from now on. Express how you want to keep standards high and that you want X about of money for Y. Cost it out. Be clear and concise.
    phlogiston likes this.
  11. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    There's always the Psychology 101 trick of asking for a higher amount of money than you need - they refuse and think they have 'won' with a reduced offer - which is the amount you actually do need!
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    As above really.
    Prepare a list of essentials with costs, and the consequences if the items are not bought.
    Sort your attendance first.
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    I think you have to ask about a one-off extra slice of money for your department to cover anything you're going to need before the next budget year. I guess they might argue for that being an advance on next year's, but you need to know that you are going to continue to be able to buy essentials. And if there are things beyond essentials, be prepared to make your case.

    A former colleague of mine moved to a HoD post in September, to find that the previous HoD had spent the entire April-April budget, but supplies of exercise books and chalk (long while back!) were almost used up.
  14. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Something that I always did as a HoD was to have a years books etc always hidden away. That way if things got tight I had some flexibility.
    jarndyce likes this.
  15. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Whatever you say the answer will be 'Well it's your responsibility to make your resources stretch to cover all your proposed activities.' The chances are you'll just end up having to make do. Lots of videos and worksheets rather than actually doing and creating.

    It doesn't help you but I saw this coming years ago. In better financial times, I always spent up my budget getting in plenty of the basic stuff and avoiding the fancy and expensive so that when the inevitable squeeze came I would have plenty of basics at least to get on with something practical. I reckoned that if I had no more budget ever I could run my schemes of work for at least three or four years on my accumulated resources. The new text books for the new courses are never budgeted for and come out of normal expenditure which makes this year especially tight.
  16. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I was in the same boat at a specialist Arts school a few years back. Less than £500 a year for my budget, yet over £100000 a year coming into the school for performing arts.

    Still, the HT did change the titles of a couple of SLT to have "Arts" in them and then paid their salaries out of that £100000...so I guess that's OK. Who cares if kids don't have equipment to use eh?

    Shedman and JohnJCazorla like this.
  17. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Get creative (with the blessing of the Head). Email local businesses connected with your subject asking for sponsorship; ask the parents for contributions. If you are buying text books see if any parents would like to buy the textbook for their child and then donate it to the department.
  18. meggyd

    meggyd Senior commenter

    No No No. We are teachers, not fundraisers.
    wanet likes this.

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