I wrote to you last week about our ‘School Funding in Crisis’ campaign, urging you to take action to make the case that schools are facing real terms cuts and need more funding to make up for the additional costs you are facing. We’ve made a strong start to the campaign that was picked up by the media both last Monday and again in all the papers today.
Today, I’ll be making this case to the Public Accounts Committee, who have launched an inquiry into the financial sustainability of schools and I’ll be presenting the evidence from our members on the ground.
We’re also taking the opportunity to launch our second schools funding report, ‘Breaking Point’ that presents the findings of our recent survey of members on school funding. It makes bleak reading that will come as no surprise to you including key findings that:
- The number of schools reporting a deficit more than doubled since the 2015 survey, increasing by 10 percentage points from 8% to 18% of respondents and reflecting the seriousness of the funding situation.
- Similarly, the number of schools who were only able to balance their budget by making cuts or using reserves increased from 64% in 2015 to 71% in 2016.
- The key reasons for these financial pressures continue to be the 2015 increases in employers’ pension and national insurance contributions but this year, the third most quoted source of financial pressure reported by school leaders was the cost of dealing with the additional needs of pupils, reported by 83% of respondents.
- An important consideration was also the impact of government policy in relation to local authorities: 47% reported the decline of local authority services as a cost pressure on schools, and this is being made worse by the reduction in the Education Services Grant (ESG) funding to local authorities, and academies.
- Increasing numbers of schools and academies have had to reduce the number of hours of teaching assistants (a measure adopted by 66% of respondents, up 7% on last year) and/or reduce the amount of hours of teaching staff (reported by 31% of staff, up 6% on last year).
- A staggering 72% of respondents thought that their budget would be untenable by 2019/20.
You can find the full details of our findings in the survey report here, and you may find this helpful to support your local campaigning. We’re urging you to do the following things:
Write to your MP to tell them just how your school budgets are being squeezed.
- Send a tweet using the #SchoolCuts hashtag and our @NAHTnews handle with an example of how the cuts are biting in your school.
- Share these findings by retweeting @NAHTnews infographics.
Sign our petition on the school cuts website.
You can find sample letters and other resources on the campaign page of our website that you can find here.
This is your opportunity to speak out about school funding and I hope you’ll join us in this campaign.
First published 23 January 2017