State schools across England are facing a severe budget crisis, with many being forced to cut back on costly and less popular subjects such as art, drama, design technology, German and French. The majority of state schools are expected to be in the red by the coming academic year due to high energy bills and the rise in teachers’ pay, which has not been fully funded.

As a result, many schools are planning to reduce the number of teaching staff and assistants, with unions and heads cautioning that increased class sizes and a lack of funds could lead to a reduction in the number of subjects offered. Smaller courses with a lower number of students, such as art, drama, German and French, are particularly under threat, as it may no longer be financially viable to maintain them with fewer students enrolled. Design technology is also at risk, given the expense of materials and the need for smaller classes for safety reasons.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, noted that culturally important subjects will become the preserve of private schools if cuts are made across the board. He warned that valuable subjects could disappear, as many schools will not want to admit they are cutting courses due to financial constraints.

The issue is particularly acute at the post-16 level, where schools may need at least 100 students in each year group for certain subjects to be run financially. The funding crisis has also led academies to ask teachers to teach subjects outside their area of specialism, leading to staff frustration and concerns about teacher retention.

Adam Watt, a professor of French at Exeter University, warns that if only those who can afford private education have access to language courses, the future workforce’s potential will be seriously compromised. Apart from directly teaching language skills, learning French and German at school instils valuable communication skills, multi-tasking abilities, flexibility of thought, and awareness of and openness to difference.

Despite the mounting concerns, a spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) stated that core funding this year includes a £4bn increase to help schools deliver a “broad and balanced curriculum”.


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    Declan Ryan is a 25-year-old blogger who specializes in education. He has a degree in education from a top university and has been blogging about education for the past four years. He is a regular contributor to several popular education blogs and has a large following on social media. He is passionate about helping students and educators alike and is always looking for new ways to improve education.