2 October 2018
Dear Mrs May and Mr Hammond
We are writing to draw your attention to the impact on students in our schools and colleges of significant real terms funding cuts to budgets and the demoralising effect on many staff of the Government’s recent pay settlement.
The independent and highly respected body, the Institute of Fiscal Studies, has shown that school funding has been cut by 8% per pupil over the past eight years.
This has resulted in rising class sizes, and schools have had no option other than to make cuts to the curriculum, enrichment activities and the support that many pupils and their families have come to rely on.
Since 2010, 537,885 more pupils have joined state schools (DfE source SFR29/0617), and yet recruitment is not keeping pace with demand, and too many experienced professionals are leaving prematurely.
Compared to last year, we have 5,400 fewer teachers, 2,800 fewer teaching assistants and 2,600 fewer support staff.
The OECD reports that teachers’ annual salaries in England fell by about 10 per cent in real terms between 2005 and 2017. Despite the evidence that an improvement in pay is urgently needed, your government has ignored its own independent pay review body with the result that less than half the teaching workforce will receive the recommended increase of 3.5%.
The majority of teachers will receive another real-terms pay cut.
Furthermore, the pay award is not fully funded, with schools expected to find the first 1% from budgets which are already at breaking point.
Our grave concern is that the only way that schools will be able to afford the pay award this year is by making cuts to the hours that people work, or by making redundancies. Ultimately, this only harms the pupils that we work so hard to support.
The recommendations of the STRB must be met in full and the cost of this must be fully funded by the government.
It is also vital that funding is improved to schools and colleges as a matter of urgency in the forthcoming budget and that future spending meets the needs of the school system in the years ahead.
Geoff Barton General Secretary, ASCL
Mary Bousted Joint General Secretary, NEU
Kevin Courtney Joint General Secretary, NEU
Paul Whiteman General Secretary, NAHT