Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Our children deserve better - we have to stop school cuts

“Schools in England are now facing the most significant financial pressure since the mid-1990s. Funding per pupil is reducing in real terms. If they are to manage within the funds available, schools will have to find efficiency savings rising from £1.1 billion in 2016–17 to £3.0 billion (equivalent to 8% of the total budget) by 2019–20 because of costs which are outside their control, such as pay rises, higher employer contributions to national insurance and the teachers’ pension scheme, and the apprenticeship levy”.

House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, Financial Sustainability of Schools, March 2017

"Schools just wanna have funds" - School gate protest at Forest Hill School in Lewisham

Our schools are under serious threat. In response, a growing campaign of parents, school leaders, staff and their trade unions is demanding ‘fair funding for all schools’. 

The campaign must succeed. If not, our children’s education will be damaged by cuts to the curriculum, rising class sizes and cuts to teaching and support staff posts which will further worsen the pressures on an already overstretched school workforce.

Six school trade unions are backing the www.schoolcuts.org.uk website that shows how schools right across the SERTUC region (and beyond!) will be hit. It’s not just London boroughs that face real terms cuts of over 10%, so do Authorities like Luton, Southend and Brighton. 

MPs, the National Audit Office and the Institute for Fiscal Studies are all warning Government about school cuts. Yet, as things stand, they are refusing to listen. Ministers are either denying their extent or claiming that schools can somehow manage through ‘efficiency savings’. The NAO showed that 60% of secondary schools already had to spend more than their income in 2014-15. That position has only got worse. The hardest hit schools are now starting to make staff redundant.

The much-publicised National Funding Formula will do nothing to address the problem. It just aims to cover up the overall shortfall by taking money from some Authorities to give to others. But over 98% of schools will still lose out in real terms! 

Our children deserve better. Everyone who values education must campaign together to reverse these cuts and demand genuinely 'fair funding' that is sufficient to meet every child's needs.

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