The Government's funding announcement is disappointing and a return to smoke and mirrors statements on school funding. Whilst any extra money is welcome this isn’t enough to stop the huge cuts that schools are making.
The calculations published on our organisations' School Cuts website showed that under the Conservative Party's manifesto plans for school funding, schools faced a loss of £11.6 billion in real terms between 2015/16 and 2021/22.
The extra money pledged today is not sufficient to make up this loss. The Government says it will ensure that no school faces losing funding in cash terms. In fact, inflation will mean that most schools will be significantly worse off in real terms.
Schools are already making cuts in resources, curriculum choices and activities for students and in teaching and support staff posts. The General Election showed that education funding is hugely important to voters. The Government has clearly recognised that its original plans were unacceptable. We are now calling on the Government to find further additional funding to protect all schools in real terms and avoid these damaging cuts to children's education.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “After one of the most successful joint union campaigns we are heartened that the Government is reallocating some money from the free schools budget to maintained schools who were faced with unsustainable cuts. However, this is not a long term solution to the schools funding crisis. School budgets are already squeezed to the bone and children’s education is suffering. Schools need the money now so they can provide the teaching and support all their pupils need to reach their potential.”
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, NUT said: "We have told the Government that schools are facing big real terms cuts. The Government has had to recognise that fact. This extra money is welcome but it is nowhere near enough."
Sharon Wilde, GMB Education Lead Officer, said: "Any genuine increase in funding will be welcome, but school staff won't believe it until they see an end to the job cuts and funding droughts that are pushing the education system to the brink. If this new funding comes from more cuts to teaching assistants and other support staff then the quality of children's services will continue to suffer."
Jon Richards, UNISON’s head of education, said: “Considerable extra money is needed to reverse the damage already done. Teachers and pupils are paying a high price because support staff have been axed. The loss of these jobs with other cuts is placing schoolchildren at risk. The government should be investing in their futures.”
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary, ATL
Tim Roache, General Secretary, GMB
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, NUT
Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON