Over 80 per cent of schools in England are expected to have less funding than in 2015, despite a promise by the government to spend an extra £7 billion in the next three years, the School Cuts Coalition has said.
The extra spending is only expected to provide about 10 per cent of schools with the funding they need, and campaigners say the education funding crisis is not over.
Schools in the most deprived areas will be most affected, with teachers turning to crowdfunding and fundraisers in order to afford books, pens, and other essentials for pupils.
“Schools are so cash-starved that staff are buying equipment like pens and stationery with their own money,” explained John Richards, head of the education division for Unison, one of six unions which make up the School Cuts Coalition.
“Valuable teaching assistants are also being axed by schools as they struggle to balance budgets. The government keeps promising resources but schools need money now.”
A School Funding Crisis
Image Credit: Unsplash
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) – which is also part of the coalition – explained that schools across the country were facing a funding crisis. Despite a step in the right direction, he stressed that more investment was needed – and needed quickly.
“Analysis by the School Cuts coalition shows the additional funding is not enough to repair the damage that has been done to our schools and colleges and that further investment is required,” he said.
“We are not being churlish, we are just stating the facts. The funding crisis is not over.”
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, there has been a decline in spending per pupil by eight per cent since 2009, and by five per cent since 2015.
Without the immediate release of extra funding, it’s no surprise that, in the words of IFS research fellow Luke Sibieta, “most schools will have lower budgets in real-terms next year as compared with 2015.”
Do The Numbers Add Up?
Image Credit: Pixabay
The Department for Education has said the additional £7.1 billion cash injection is the “biggest” schools have seen over the last decade, and that pupils will be allocated a minimum of £4,000 in primary schools, and £5,000 in secondary schools.
However, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, has expressed concern about where the money for funding will come from.
“Johnson has made lots of empty promises on school funding – but his numbers don’t add up,” Courtney said.
Courtney’s fears aren’t unsubstantiated either. At the weekend, the government announced a cash injection of billions into Britain’s hospitals, with the Prime Minister saying 40 new hospitals would be built and opened with that money.
However, it has since emerged that the majority of funds will instead go to six NHS trusts that are in serious need of rebuilding.
Courtney added that the funding announcement for education “falls short for every child.”
“And crucially it fails to reverse the cuts schools have suffered since 2015.”