Responding to a written statement from Nick Gibb this morning detailing school funding for 2019-20, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“The DfE’s announcement on school revenue funding today will be disappointing for many school leaders. Whilst Nick Gibb confirms the funding allocations for the national funding formula announced last September, he reneges on the government’s intention for the funding to go directly to schools from 2020/21. Instead it will continue to go to local authorities who will each allocate to schools depending on their own local formula.
“This means that the promise of a funding floor of £3,500 in primary schools and £4,800 in secondary per pupil will ring very hollow for our members who may fail to receive this as a result of their local authority’s approach to funding. The government is calculating how much funding each school in the country must get as a minimum but it is failing to ensure that it will get to them.
“Another year of 152 different school funding formulas will see children missing out just because of where they live. With school budgets at breaking point, the government is still not treating all schools, or children, equally.
“School leaders will also have mixed views about today’s pay announcement. A 3.5% award for teachers is welcome, and necessary. But more senior teachers and leaders will feel very let down by the government. With inflation at 2.3%, a 1.5% or 2% pay ‘rise’ is a real terms pay cut. It is not the reward valued and experienced senior teachers and leaders deserve and does not recognise their critical role in schools. It is an especially disappointing decision by the government given that the STRB recommended 3.5% for all. What is the point of an independent review body if their recommendations are only listened to when it suits the government?
“Ultimately, the Treasury is still refusing to allocate any new money to schools, and today’s announcements simply mean a re-shuffle of existing insufficient pots. The DfE will partially fund the pay awards from the wider education budget, but what will be cut instead? We fear it will be at the expense of school improvement and leadership development. School funding is an investment in our children’s futures; cuts now are a false economy. Sooner or later the government must find more money for schools.”
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