Commenting on a Government’s outline of how money promised in the autumn statement will be distributed to state schools in England, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"It is amazing the Department of Education is choosing to boast that education funding will finally match 2009-2010 levels by 2024-25. Their expectations must be very low indeed if they consider this progress, or in any way acceptable. It is evidence of profound failure at the heart of government that education funding will not have increased in real terms over 15 years. It ignores the significant comparable decline in the pay of teachers compared with other professions and the associated problems in recruitment and retention. It ignores the huge cuts to children's services elsewhere that are impacting on schools.
"The extra £2bn of funding is a sticking plaster to cover the high level of inflation in the economy. Taken as a whole, Government funding plans for 2022/23 to 2024/25 leave schools more or less exactly where they started. The Government is like a low rent magician using poor sleight of hand, when everyone can see the workings for themselves.
"Persistent underfunding has led to deep and lasting effects on the education sector. Class sizes are at record levels - primary class sizes are the highest in Europe and secondary class sizes are the highest since records began more than 40 years ago. All children deserve to be taught in classes of fewer than 30 led by a qualified teacher, but this is simply not being addressed. Nor is the recruitment and retention crisis, when the government cannot even meet its own targets in teacher training and their pay offer to existing teachers is rejected for being 'insulting'. No wonder teachers are leaving the profession in high numbers.
"The education sector needs more money and needs it now. If the Government is serious about education, it needs to get its head out of the sand."