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NAHT’s School Funding in Crisis event in Birmingham

School leaders gathered in Birmingham on 15 February to support NAHT’s campaign on school funding

Hundreds of school leaders from across Birmingham and beyond packed out the Birmingham City Football Stadium on 15 February to join NAHT’s campaign on school funding. 

Birmingham’s schools face a real terms funding cut of over £97 million by 2019/20 according to National Audit Office figures. That works out at an average loss of £579 per pupil. The situation is made even worse due to the fact that the government is planning to introduce the new National Funding Formula without first making sure there is enough money in the system to make it work. Under the NFF proposals currently under consultation, 371 of the city’s 386 schools lose cash.  So it’s no surprise so many of the city’s school leaders joined together to launch NAHT’s campaign in the West Midlands Region.

Delegates on the day heard contributions from Birmingham City’s Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Brigid Jones and parent campaigner Jo Yurkey from the Fair Funding for All Schools group. There were also briefings on the funding situation in the city and what we can do about it from Rob Kelsall, NAHT Senior Organiser.

Members spoke passionately from the floor about the hugely negative impact the continued funding crisis was having on children. Several members explained how the chronic under funding of our school system was leading to head teachers and governors having to make decisions about whether or not they would be able to keep the school gates open all week or reduce the number of teaching staff if the squeeze continued.

Rob Kelsall, NAHT Senior Organiser said: “This is the first time in a generation that school leaders are facing the prospect of swingeing real-term cuts to their budgets. Schools finances are already at breaking point and something has to give. Our members have already been left to pick-up the pieces from cuts to vital services like CAMHS and social services. Either the government values our children and our schools and invests in them now, or the education of the next generation will suffer the impact of the £3billion real-term cuts. The head of PISA has already issued a warning that cuts will harm standards. This warning should be taken very seriously indeed.”

Research undertaken by organisations such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies, National Audit Office, London Councils and NAHT has highlighted a £3 billion gap in school budgets in real terms by 2019/20 if government spending plans remain unchanged.  

71% of school leaders who responded to our recent NAHT Breaking Point survey explained that they had only been able to set a balanced budget by making significant cuts or their surplus. 78% of respondents told us that their budget would be unsustainable by 2019/20 with 18% telling us they were already in deficit.

NAHT believes that education funding is an investment in our future and should not be seen as a burden on the tax payer.

NAHT is working with Councils, MPs, parent groups, the National Governors Association and of course our sister unions to build a strong campaign for a better deal on funding for schools. We can secure fair funding if we work together to highlight just how damaging the Government cuts are to children’s education, however no one organisation working in isolation will win a better deal for us, so we must all play our part in winning this campaign.

Get involved in NAHT’s School Funding in Crisis Events - Your voice makes a real difference

Meetings have been arranged all over the country so come along and get involved in our most important campaign of 2017. Remember – don’t leave it to someone else to protect funding for your school.

Find details of NAHT’s regional events here

NAHT Course: School financial health & efficiency – 14th March in Birmingham

Images from the School Funding in Crisis event in Birmingham held on 15 February 2017.