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Joint union letter to the PM and Chancellor warns school budgets are at breaking point


School budgets are already at breaking point and in light of the government's recent pay settlement, NAHT, ASCL and NEU have written an open letter to PM Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond outlining concerns over how schools will balance the books. 

Read our joint letter below 

We are writing to draw your attention to the impact on students of significant real terms funding cuts and the demoralising effect on many staff of the government’s recent pay settlement.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has shown school funding has been cut by 8% per pupil over the past eight years.

This has resulted in rising class sizes, and schools have had no option other than to make cuts to the curriculum, enrichment activities and the support many pupils and their families rely on.

Since 2010, 537,885 more pupils have joined state schools, yet recruitment is not keeping pace with demand. Teachers’ salaries in England fell about 10% in real terms between 2005 and 2017. Despite the evidence that an improvement in pay is urgently needed, your government has ignored its own independent pay review body with the result that less than half the teaching workforce will receive the recommended 3.5%.

Furthermore, the pay award is not fully funded, with schools expected to find the first 1% from budgets which are already at breaking point.

Our grave concern is that the only way that schools will be able to afford the pay award this year is by making cuts to the hours that people work, or by making redundancies.

This only harms the pupils. Recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body must be met in full and the cost must be fully funded by the government.

Yours, Geoff Barton, general secretary ASCL, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary NEU, Kevin Courtney, 
joint general secretary NEU, Paul Whiteman, general secretary NAHT

First published 20 June 2019