Disadvantaged children likely to be hit hardest by Government changes to school funding, shows new School Cuts interactive website from NUT and ATL

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Press release
09 November 2016 by ATL Media Office
Schools with the most disadvantaged children are likely to face the biggest funding cuts when the Government reallocates school funding, according to calculations by the NUT and ATL.

The calculations – the subject of schoolcuts.org.uk, a new interactive map from the unions – show that if the Government just reallocates the existing overall schools’ budget:

  • Schools with the most deprived intakes would face the greatest average losses in real terms - £579 per pupil in primary schools, and £784 in secondaries.
  • The average real terms loss for primary schools would be £96,481, or £401 per pupil.
  • The average real terms loss for secondary schools would be £290,228, or £365 per pupil.

In addition:

  • Nine in ten schools in England (92%) could face budget cuts in real terms over the next four years.
  • No local authority area is likely to see a real terms funding increase for its schools and academies, even after the redistributive impact of a new formula.
  • Average budget cuts could be 6.5% in primary schools and 9% in secondary schools.

We know that schools are already struggling to cope.  A recent letter to the Prime Minister, signed by 250 West Sussex heads, warned of the already “crippling effect” on schools of existing funding arrangements. However, the Government now plans the biggest real term cuts in a generation.

Under the guise of ‘fairer funding’, Theresa May and education secretary Justine Greening intend only to shift the already inadequate overall school funding around the country, rather than do the right thing – which is to increase it and ensure the most disadvantaged benefit.

Today the NUT and ATL launch schoolcuts.org.uk – an interactive map of England’s schools which shows the likely effect on every school of plans to redistribute the existing funding between schools in England.

The website enables users to see precisely how each individual school could be affected in real terms by the Government’s intention to implement a new funding formula for schools alongside real terms cuts to funding per pupil and cost increases being imposed by the Government. (1)

By entering a post code on the website homepage, visitors can see how all the schools in that area are likely to fare between now and 2020 and how that estimated funding loss equates into numbers of teacher posts.

The formula used in the website is based on the Government’s own spending plans and school data, Institute for Fiscal Studies projections for the cost of inflation and other cost increases, and the new funding formula proposed by the influential f40 campaign group of local authorities.

If, and when, the Government confirms the formula, the website will be amended to provide revised predictions reflecting that formula.  The necessary features of any new formula and the statements already made by Government about funding methodology mean, however, that – unless new money is found – the impact on schools is likely to be similar to the impact demonstrated by this website.

We predict that no local authority areas would overall be better off.

  • In London, we anticipate real terms cuts of 16% in Southwark, Lambeth and Hackney and of 15% in Haringey and Kensington and Chelsea.
  • Many areas of the country would be hit by cuts above 10%, including Manchester (15%), Middlesbrough (14%), Coventry (14%), Bristol (12%) and Birmingham (13%).
  • Justine Greening’s own constituency of Putney should expect a 13% loss, or £740 per pupil. Justine Greening and her Ministerial colleague at the Department for Education Edward Timpson represent constituencies which are in the top 100 worst affected. The Secretary of State’s constituency is 27th worst affected and Edward Timpson’s is 93rd.
  • Of the party leaders, it is predicted that Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead would lose out by 5%, or £234 per pupil. Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency (Islington North) faces a 10% loss or £577 per pupil and Tim Farron’s (Westmorland & Lonsdale) an 8% loss or £351 per pupil .
  • It is a similar story for the Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor. Schools in Philip Hammond’s constituency (Runnymede & Weybridge) should expect to be 4% worse off, or £190 per pupil, and in John McDonnell’s constituency (Hayes & Harlington) schools face the prospect of a 10% cut or loss of £506 per pupil. 
  • Of the 20 worst hit local authorities, only one is Conservative controlled. Fifteen are Labour controlled. The remainder are independent or have no overall control.

The attached report provides a full briefing on the data:

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NUT and ATL are calling on the Government to take immediate action to inject much needed money into an already beleaguered system and protect schools from rising inflation. It is the only sensible solution to a crisis already underway and which is set to get harder for schools to cope with.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers:

“No head teacher should be put in the position of increasing class sizes, leaving building repairs undone or cutting staff and resources simply to balance the books. Nor should any parent accept this for their child. We are one of the richest countries in the world. We can and we should be funding our schools properly.”

Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers:

“We urge the Government to increase the overall funding for schools. If it just reallocates the existing budget many children will lose out, with some of the most deprived children being hit hardest. It is ill-conceived to think the formula for schools’ funding can be reformed alongside real terms cuts to the overall schools’ budget. No school should be forced to cope with a drop in funding that will jeopardise its ability to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum and recruit and retain staff. All children deserve a fair chance to succeed and should not suffer because schools are under-resourced by the Government and teachers over-worked.”

END 

For more information please contact:

Caroline Cowie, NUT Press Officer c.cowie@nut.org.uk, 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061.

Christine Gregory, ATL press office, cgregory@atl.org.uk – 020 7782 1589, out of hours 07918 617466, switchboard 020 7930 6441.

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Editor’s Note

1) These include higher employer NI and pension contributions.