Responding to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement today, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“School leaders will greet the announcement of £80m to help small firms recruit apprentices with gritted teeth. Small businesses are exempt from paying into the apprenticeship levy if they have a wage bill of less than £3m. But small maintained schools have been hit incredibly hard by the levy as they are seen as part of the local authority’s wage bill and therefore have to pay.
“This means that small businesses are now being subsidised by small schools to the tune of £80m. All while schools are not able to take advantage of the apprenticeship scheme themselves. There are very few suitable apprenticeship routes for school staff so schools pay in but see very little benefit.
“The apprenticeship levy has been a key driver of the funding crisis in schools, representing a 0.5% tax. More than half (67%) of recently surveyed NAHT members said the apprenticeship levy was one of the major factors causing financial pressure in their school. The full results of NAHT’s 2018 funding survey will be released next week.
“There is now wide acceptance that education is one of the essential public services that should be in line for increased funding. The cost of providing state education is rising; state funding needs to increase to meet that need.”
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