We didn’t expect the last week of August to be quite so momentous, but these days politics is full of surprises.
As some of you may have seen, the government has just announced £14.4bn more funding for schools.
As always the devil is in the detail, but right now, we should pause for a moment to recognise that, on the face of it, this is a substantial injection of cash, which, over three years, could make a real difference.
It is also right to acknowledge that this announcement hasn’t come out of nowhere. The funding announced today is a result of the high-profile campaign that NAHT has run alongside its members starting five years ago; and through our petitions, press releases, demonstrations, lobbying, pledges and negotiations, we have made sure that the argument for more school funding has stayed at the top of the government’s agenda
We’re not naïve, and school leaders have become accustomed to being disappointed on this issue. For that reason, my press statement, which you can read here, offers a cautious welcome as to what’s been announced.
You can also read the government’s statement in full here and make up your own mind about what they have said about the funding.
Naturally further analysis is needed, and we will be doing plenty of work on that now to make sure that what’s been announced meets the needs of all pupils in all schools, not only in England but in Wales and Northern Ireland too. Keep an eye on your inbox over the following days for our additional commentary.
Keeping those reservations and a good dose of healthy scepticism firmly in mind, one thing is beyond dispute; the government has finally acknowledged that it takes a multi-billion-pound investment from the Treasury to repair the damage of the devastating cuts we’ve seen since 2010.
We have unequivocally won the argument for more school and college funding. And that’s because of what we’ve done together.
To that end, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every NAHT member who has been active in our campaign. We’ve drawn together the biggest coalition of school leaders, governors, parents and other unions to make the case for proper investment in our children’s futures.
What we need to do now is make sure that the substance matches the government’s headlines.
I will be speaking to the Secretary of State for Education in the coming days, to seek further assurances from him, and will, of course, apprise you of any significant details that I’m able to ascertain.