Commenting on news that the Treasury has taken back £384m originally promised for schools in England, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says: “It is inappropriate that at a time when school budgets are being published beyond breaking point that the government is seeking to take further money away from them.
“There are a number of inconsistencies in the DfE’s approach. When abandoning its forced academisation plans, in the face of opposition from NAHT and many others, the government has not scrapped plans to take £600 million out of the education services grant (ESG), which is used by councils for school improvement and special needs pupils, and to plan for school places. And yet, the government feels justified in clawing back money allocated to pay for academisation costs. The DfE needs to join up funding and policy, particularly in the face of swift policy changes. Without this, schools will be left high and dry.”
James Bowen, director of middle leaders’ union NAHT Edge, says: “Middle leaders know the huge pressures on school budgets, which risk narrowing the curriculum and reducing the number of non-teaching staff, such as teaching assistants, therapists and counsellors. Such cuts pose a real risk to some of our most vulnerable pupils. The government needs to invest sufficient funds into schools, or risk failure for the proposed funding formula.”