Commenting on yesterday’s announcement on school funding for 2019-20, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“Nick Gibb’s statement on school revenue funding will do nothing to alleviate the enormous pressure on school budgets, which the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) says have declined by 8% in England since 2010, and by 5% for schools in Wales over the same period.
“Tinkering with the National Funding Formula (NFF) will not fix the problem. The Government needs to stop fiddling with the formula and methodology and instead increase the Dedicated Schools Grant sufficiently, so that all schools and academies can deliver high quality education. It doesn’t matter how many tweaks you make to the formula, if there isn’t enough funding to go around, cracks will begin to appear.
“And that’s exactly what’s happening in our schools! As a record number of children and young adults enter education, schools are being asked to do a lot more with a lot less. This has led to cuts in the number of teachers and support staff; increased class sizes and less teacher/pupil contact time; a narrowing of the curriculum and more schools reporting setting deficit budgets.
“A lack of adequate SEND funding is limiting the ability of local authorities (LAs) to meet their statutory duties for children with SEND. The far-reaching reductions to SEND provision have led nationally to over 2,000 children and young people with complex needs being without any education provision. The Government needs to stop misleading the public and invest more in our education system. Without further financing, this crisis will only get worse and drive more teachers and support staff away.
“Schools will be under greater pressure too from the government’s failure to fully fund teachers’ pay with new money.
“There is a small ray of sunshine in the announcement and the NEU welcomes the decision to allow LAs with their School Forums to continue allocating school funding locally to meet regional demands.
“Instead of ignoring the evidence, the Government must respond to the concerns of stakeholders, parents and those working hard to deliver high-quality education.”