Today (Friday 28 Sept), a thousand head teachers will converge on Number 11 Downing Street to campaign for more funding for schools and colleges.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “School funding is the public service cash crisis that the government refuses to deal with. It’s still a doorstep issue for voters, and until the Treasury announces more money for education, school leaders, governors, parents and others will continue to make their voices heard.
“Head teachers are not normally the marching kind. So, when they do, it must be serious. They’re sick of being told that there’s more money in education than ever before, when what they see with their own eyes every day proves that it’s just not enough. More and more now, children succeed despite the system, not because of it. And that can’t be right.”
NAHT research shows that almost three-quarters of school leaders expect they will be unable to balance their budgets in the next financial year. And it’s not just NAHT saying school budgets are at breaking point.
Earlier this year, figures showed the number of secondary schools in England running at a loss had nearly trebled in four years. The study, published by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) in March, said the number of local council-run secondary schools in deficit dropped from 14.3% in 2010/11 to 8.8% in 2013/14, but between 2013/14 and 2016/17, the numbers in deficit nearly trebled to 26.1%. In July, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said total school spending per pupil fell around 8% in real terms in England between 2009/10 and 2017/18.
Mr Whiteman continued: “It’s a cliché to say that children are our future. But it is true. Failing to invest in them is a failure to invest in the future of the nation. Saving money on education is a reckless false economy. What we need is for the government to show some leadership and properly fund the essential work all schools do. One teacher said to me recently that if we go to London on Friday and get the Treasury to change its funding policy, he reckons that will be the best day's work he's ever done. That's the stage we're at.”
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