School leaders from across the West Midlands have joined together to write a letter to the Chancellor, explaining the crisis in education funding currently affecting schools in the region and the impact it is having.
A delegation of head teachers from the region delivered the letter to 11 Downing Street on Wednesday 3 July, where they were met by West Midlands MPs. More than 600 school leaders and chairs of governors have so far added their names.
In the letter, they called on the Chancellor to take immediate action to end the crisis and give children in the region the education they deserve. A copy of the letter will also be delivered to Conservative Party leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
Schools in the West Midlands have lost more than £140 million from their budgets whilst pupil numbers have risen by almost 50,000 in just three years.
The letter says:
“School funding is at breaking point. We have been forced to make heart-breaking cuts to our budgets which are now impacting on standards as well as pupil and staff well-being.
“We have made all the efficiencies we can. Spending on curriculum resources, facilities, premises, ICT and other areas have all been slashed. Now we are facing impossible choices about which staff positions we need to cut. Nationwide, 5,400 teachers, 2,800 teaching assistants, 1,400 support staff and 1,200 auxiliary staff have been lost already. These are vital posts that schools need to support children.
“In the West Midlands, schools are looking at drastic solutions to balance budgets including implementation of a four and a half day week. This desperate action has been a last resort for school leaders who are acutely aware of the impact this has on their local communities but are simply left with no other alternative.”
Emily Proffitt, head teacher of Tittensor First School in Stoke-on-Trent, one of the leaders delivering the letter, said “Children don't get a vote, so it is our duty to speak up for them. The government is gambling with their futures. Many pupils face a double whammy as austerity bites at home, and cuts to school budgets narrow their opportunities. It is appalling that our parliamentary representatives, voted in by their constituents, are so reluctant to listen to our concerns.”
NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman said “School budgets are at breaking point. Government ministers are now freely admitting that something must change. We need to see immediate relief from the Treasury and a long-term commitment to increased funding for schools and colleges in the Comprehensive Spending Review.”
Find out how you can get involved in our funding campaign here. We are also encouraging members to support our call for the government to provide sufficient funding for our schools by joining us on our march in Westminster on Friday 27 September. Register your place at the Fund Schools Now march here.
First published 05 July 2019