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The government is failing to understand school funding challenges, says NAHT

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has today published its report on the ‘Financial Sustainability of Schools’.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, commented: “this report is damning. It makes clear that, if schools are required to make further savings because of real terms cuts imposed on them, then school standards may be at risk.

“School leaders will strive to provide the best education in their schools but funding pressures are making this difficult. Increasing class sizes, a narrow curriculum and a reduction in pastoral care will affect all pupils. Schools are facing an estimated £3bn shortfall in the government’s education budget by 2020 – the first real terms cuts to education spending since the nineties. 72 per cent of school leaders surveyed by NAHT this winter said that their budgets will be unsustainable by 2019.

“The Committee is right to recommend that the Department for Education prove that the required savings will not put the education of young people at risk. Asking the Department to set out the financial impact on schools of the Apprenticeship Levy and cuts to the Education Services Grant is crucial to show that the government understands the impact these changes will have.

“We know school budgets are at breaking point. The institute for Fiscal Studies, the National Audit Office and now the Public Accounts Committee all support this view. School budgets are not protected, as real terms cuts mean all schools are having to make savings. NAHT will continue to campaign for more funding for schools. In the meantime, it is vital the Department for Education better understands the consequence of their policies on the ground for children.”

First published 03 January 2018