• Analysis of the actual school funding allocations from 2015/16 to 2018/19 shows that the real terms cuts are probably even worse than the £2.5bn that were originally estimated – as school costs have actually turned out to have been higher than the NAO originally anticipated. What we do know is that schools in England received over £2.5bn less in real terms this year than the start of the 2015/16.
• There are 66,000 more kids in state schools in England this year compared to last, yet compared to last year there are 10,800 fewer staff in our school – including over 5,000 fewer teachers, over 2,500 fewer teaching assistants and over 2,000 fewer support staff.
• And a major survey by the National Governors Association this month shows that “three-quarters of governors believe financial pressures will harm the quality of education and nearly a third of schools were in the red”.
All this means, we’re still seeing:
• Heads increasingly struggling to balance budgets
• Cuts to staffing
• Increasing difficulties matching funding to special education needs and vulnerable pupils
• Cuts to counselling and mental health services for kids
• Parents being asked for regular funding contributions
• The budget will be held in October this year – a very important one as it is likely to indicate the total spending envelope over the next 4 year period (the spending review)
• Next year the spending review will set out what each government department is planned to receive in terms of revenue (day to day) and capital (buildings, equipment) over each of the next four years
• The Chancellor therefore has the opportunity to reverse austerity and spending cuts and start investing in schools and other public services
• Research (by New Economics Foundation and others) recently published suggests that the Chancellor could borrow up to £30bn more without breaching his ‘fiscal rules’ – these are the limits that the Chancellor has put on borrowing and spending in order to eliminate the deficit and bring borrowing down as a % of GDP
• We are seeing more and more Conservative MPs voice their concerns about this. In recent months, we’ve seen Theresa Villiers, Ann Main and Tim Loughton (ex-children’s minister) have all publicly raised concerns about impact of cuts to schools.
Events coming up:
• Parents and children are meeting MPs at Westminster this Wednesday 10 October
• The F40 group of lowest funding local authorities are meeting MPs at Westminster on 15 October
Parents, teaching unions, headteachers, F40 and National Governors Association are all out there making the case for more funding for schools in order to:
• Reverse cuts since 2015
• Enabling real terms funding increases per pupil going forward
• Meet increasing school costs, including teacher pay, pensions, NI, apprenticeship levy, inflation and other costs
• Ensure the implementation of a fair National Funding Formula that doesn’t relay on taking money away from some schools to give to others.