Unions take action as analysis reveals school cuts of millions of pounds

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School budgets have been cut by £1.7 billion in real terms since 2015, according to new research.

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Labour's analysis of IFS data shows school budgets have been cut by £1.7 million per pupil in real terms since 2015

The Labour party’s analysis of the Institute for Fiscal Studies' (IFS) 2018 report on education spending in England reveals that annual spending on schools would be £1.7bn higher in 2019-20 than the amount allocated by Government if funding per pupil had been maintained in real terms since 2015.

It comes as the three education unions, the National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) come together to seek the views of their members on how best to take forward the campaign for improved funding ahead of next year’s comprehensive spending review.

The three unions say they are ‘dismayed’ by the lack of understanding shown by the Chancellor in his comment that the £400m bonus he announced in the Budget last Monday would help schools “buy the little extras they need”.

Within the Budget, the Chancellor announced one-off capital funding for schools, which amounts to an average of £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary, however unions say the money is a ‘drop in the ocean’ given the funding crisis facing schools.

The unions claim that the allocation does not address the 8 per cent real-terms decline in total school spending per pupil over the past eight years, will not cover the cost of a teacher or support staff pay rises that the Government has agreed.

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Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said, ‘Enough is enough. Schools are being failed by a Chancellor with a tin ear to the desperate situation they find themselves in. Parents are being failed by a Chancellor who refuses to see the damage that persistent real-terms funding cuts are having on their children’s education.’

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, added, ‘On one hand, Philip Hammond acknowledged that school budgets are under pressure, that schools are expected to do more and that these new demands cost more than ever. But on the other he has failed to find any new money to help. Schools and young people are definitely much too far down the Government’s list of priorities, and for them, austerity is most certainly not over.

'We will be taking all appropriate action to influence the content of the Spending Review in the Spring. And we must be clear; only new money from the Treasury will solve the school funding crisis.’

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner argued the Government shouldn’t be offering a ‘sticking plaster to schools but investing in them and reversing cuts’.

She said, ‘The Tories have slashed billions from schools and now the Chancellor thinks they should be grateful he’s offered them a whiteboard. His suggestion that schools only need ‘little extras’ is downright insulting’.

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