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School budgets are becoming unsustainable, say school leaders

On Monday the Public Accounts Committee heard evidence from NAHT and individual school leaders of the devastating impact of real terms funding cuts on schools. The DfE was challenged to explain how schools are expected to find £3bn of savings by 2019 without cutting quality. Today the debate continues in the House of Commons.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The question is not how we can help schools make savings – money can always be cut – but 'why?' What price are we prepared to pay when making the cuts?

“The last few years have already seen school leaders having to make increasingly difficult decisions and more drastic cuts. We have now got to a point where for many schools there are no obvious savings left to be made. School trips have been cancelled, text books are out of date, buildings are crumbling. Now the only thing left is to cut staff.

“This cannot help but have negative consequences, often for the most vulnerable. Class sizes will increase, minority subjects will disappear, time for training with be cut and support for struggling children will be reduced. The UK is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – how can we tell our children that there is no money to spare for them?

“7 out of 10 school leaders say their budgets will be unsustainable by 2019. The government should take urgent action and commit to funding schools sufficiently in the next Budget.”

First published 05 January 2018