The Government’s long-awaited and much-delayed plans for reform of school funding will not solve the funding crisis facing schools and colleges. Our organisations, representing the overwhelming majority of teachers and school leaders, believe that the Government must provide additional resources to support any changes to school funding.
The Government says it is protecting the education budget. School funding is in fact frozen, but inflationary factors mean that schools face the biggest real terms cuts in a generation. Schools and colleges are also being hit by costs relating to higher employer pension and national insurance contributions, the new apprenticeship levy and changes to curriculum and assessment. The impact of Government funding policy on high needs provision is also creating great concern, with changes to early years funding resulting in cuts in some areas and putting providers and local authorities under serious pressure.
We urgently need additional investment in school buildings to cope with increasing pupil numbers. Cuts to health, social care, welfare and local authority funding – including removal of the Education Services Grant – all affect schools. Post 16 education is in an even worse position, as these pressures come on top of large cuts in the last parliament.
We are already seeing job losses, increased class sizes and cuts to courses in our schools and colleges. Instead, we need to invest more – including in teacher pay – to respond to a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. Any reform to funding arrangements must recognise the need for additional funding, tackle existing shortages and ensure an equitable distribution so that every child and young person has access to what they need to succeed.
Our future depends on developing the skills of our children and young people. Education is an investment in our economic future, but the Government is cutting already inadequate funding. Our organisations call upon the Government to change course and to give our schools and colleges the resources they need.
Mary Bousted, General Secretary, ATL
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, NUT
Russell Hobby, General Secretary, NAHT
Deborah Lawson, General Secretary, Voice
Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary, ASCL
How will your school be affected? Click here: School Cuts