The letter below has been sent to me by the National Association of Head Teachers members in the Middlesbrough constituency. Parents may have received this on Friday.
The NAHT have set up a parliamentary petition with the aim to get a debate in the House on the crisis in school funding. If you would like to support your children’s future I urge you to sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/232220
Friday 7th December 2018
RE: SCHOOL FUNDING CRISIS AND PETITION
As a school, we feel that it is our duty to provide parents with a fair and accurate picture of the real state of school funding in our area. All state schools in England are funded by a central government grant that is administered by the Department for Education. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), school funding per pupil has fallen 8% in real terms since 2010.
Schools are having to make difficult choices on how to spend their limited funding as their income has not kept pace with the rise in costs since 2010. All schools are working very hard to ‘make ends meet’ but this is becoming increasingly difficult and verging on almost impossible. Bank of England information shows that £100 of goods in 2010 cost £121.90 in 2017 (which is approximately a 20% increase), and schools funding has not kept up with the increase in costs.
On average, school funding in the North East of England will be cut by the following by the year 2019/20 compared to 2015/16:
- £30,904 less per primary school
- £189,776 less per secondary school
The government’s latest statistical information on school funding by parliamentary constituency can be found using the following website address: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/social-policy/education/schools/constituency-data-schools-funding/.
Furthermore, there is a crisis in funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Cuts to local authority budgets have affected the services they can provide to schools to support children with SEND. Local authority spending on schools has fallen by 55% since 2010, according to the IFS. Schools now have to fund the first £6,000 of a child’s education, health and care support plan (EHCP) from the wider school budget, rather than receiving specific extra SEND funding.
Maintained nursery schools face a cliff-edge as their funding will be significantly cut by 2020 unless the government acts. Maintained nursery schools are the highest performing part of the education system with 98% being rated as good or outstanding. Despite this excellent record government spending decisions will mean that 64% of maintained nursery schools predict a budget deficit by 2020 unless the government takes measures to fund them properly.
And the picture in our special schools is no better. With increased pressures on school budgets and cuts to services that support our most vulnerable young people and their families, it is make or break time for our schools.
As funding has become tighter, schools have had to cut back on:
- Teaching and non-teaching staff
- Support for more vulnerable pupils
- Small group work for children who are not thriving in school
- Teaching resources (parents being asked to pay for books and materials)
- Subject choices in secondary schools
- The range of activities for primary pupils
- Extra-curricula activities provided free or subsidised
- Repairs to buildings
- Renewal of equipment
From March 2018 there has been a very small increase in funding for schools. However, this increase has not closed the gap between the funding our school receives and the funding our school needs to provide the number of teachers and resources required to deliver the education all our children deserve.
If you think government should fund schools sufficiently and fairly, please show your support by adding your name to the petition ‘Increase Funding for Schools’, as well as encouraging family and friends to do so, via the link below:
You will be asked to add some minimal information (name, email address, postcode) and then you will be required to confirm your email address by responding to the automated response sent to you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and please support your children’s future by signing the petition.