Children only get one chance at their education and the current school funding crisis means this generation of young people are not getting the education they deserve.
NAHT – the largest trade union representing school leaders – is calling on all MPs to fight for the future of their young constituents, beginning with attending the Westminster Hall debate on school funding on 4 March at 4.30pm.
In November, a group of head teachers in Gateshead set up a petition to ask the government to increase school funding – see https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/232220. School leaders across the country have been writing to parents to inform them of the funding situation and to ask them to join in signing the petition and to support their children’s future. It currently has over 85,000 signatures, which is growing by the day, and the petition will be debated in Westminster Hall on 4 March.
We now need our members of Parliament to act. Since 2015, wages and employer pension costs have risen, National Insurance has gone up and the apprenticeship levy has been introduced. All these additional costs are expected to be found from existing school budgets. At the same time, the government has abolished the Education Services Grant plus there are 300,000 more children in our schools now than there were back then, and 50,000 more education and health care support plans (EHCPs).
The result of a failure to fund schools properly has been 5,400 fewer teachers, thousands fewer support staff and thousands of children with SEND left without the support they need to thrive in the classroom. It has seen subjects removed from the curriculum and extracurricular activities such as trips and clubs cut. In short, a child starting their school journey now will have fewer resources than a child who started school in 2015.
And that's just the cuts in education; schools are having to do more because of the huge cuts to local authorities, which have seen services such as speech and language therapy (SALT), child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) and education psychology decimated over the past few years.
NAHT members have campaigned hard on this topic and we have been successful in securing over £2 billion in additional funding, but it's nowhere near enough. We are now calling on all MPs to secure a fair deal for all children in the run up to the Comprehensive Spending Review this spring.
To see the figures for school funding in each constituency, visit the House of Commons library website at https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/social-policy/education/schools/constituency-data-schools-funding/.
We are encouraging NAHT members to ask their MP to make a pledge to work for #moreschoolfunding and attend the debate on 4 March.
First published 27 February 2019