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School funding pressures are beginning to impact standards, warns NAHT

The Education Policy Institute today (Friday 16 March) publish a new analysis of school funding pressures in England.

Responding, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“This report paints a stark picture – one that is all too familiar to school leaders. It is now crystal clear that school budgets are at breaking point. Government funding is not keeping pace with inflationary pressures, and schools are falling into debt.

“EPI report that the proportion of maintained secondary schools in deficit has almost trebled, from 8.8 per cent in 2013-14 to 26.1 per cent in 2016-17. 60 per cent of maintained primary schools spent more than their income in 2016-17. This reflects NAHT’s own data and we will be publishing the results of our survey of school leaders next week.

“There is a real concern that this will soon have a negative impact on standards.

“The biggest cost for all schools is staff, especially teaching staff. As this report makes very clear, rising staffing costs cannot be met with core government funding. Even the pay-capped 1 per cent increase to teacher salaries will be unaffordable for 2 in 5 state-funded mainstream schools next year. This rises to nearly half of schools in 2019-20.

“It is obvious then, that schools cannot keep balancing their budgets without cutting staff. Early data from NAHT’s Breaking Point report shows that 79.65 per cent of school leaders were ‘reducing the number or hours of teaching assistants’ and 47.26 per cent were ‘reducing non-educational support and services for children’ in order to try to balance their budgets this year.

“In the last General Election campaign, school funding was a key issue on the doorstep. It is clear that parents will not tolerate school standards slipping and that they are concerned for their children’s future. The government’s claims that school funding is at record levels just doesn’t wash any longer. Their only option now is to find more money for schools.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett
Senior Press Officer
07545 354363

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