Today (Fri 8 Mar), NAHT’s National Executive committee meets to discuss the funding crisis currently gripping schools and colleges across the country. The meeting comes at the same time as the government is coming under sustained pressure from all parts of the education world to come up with more money.
NAHT members have written to more than a million families in the past three months to warn them of the negative impact of funding cuts. The association’s analysis of the problem is backed up by the politically independent House of Commons Library, which breaks down school funding by parliamentary constituency, and has found that cuts in per-pupil funding are a widespread reality.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This feels like a pivotal moment. School budgets are at absolute breaking point. School leaders have made all the obvious savings – now they are faced with having to make major changes to the way they provide education. Yet the government’s response is one of institutional deafness.”
The weight of evidence and strength of feeling is undeniable, including:
More than 100,000 parents signed a petition forcing a debate in Parliament at the beginning of the week.
NAHT’s survey of MPs showed that more than half of them agreed that the funding crisis was real.
Tuesday’s investigation by the Times newspaper found that only 10 per cent of school leaders were confident that they would have enough money to maintain current standards over the next five years.
Next week, the heads of England’s maintained nurseries will be handing in a letter to the Chancellor because their budgets are at breaking point.
Mr Whiteman continued: “The government cannot avoid this issue any longer. Class sizes are rising and the range of subjects schools can afford to offer is shrinking. Our system is failing the most vulnerable pupils, at the most critical time in their lives.
“Governors, parents, staff, and school leaders have been banging the drum for more funding for more than two years now. The government has lost the argument. Everyone now understands that only new money from the Treasury will solve the school funding crisis.”
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