Commenting on Education recovery and resilience in England, a report published today (Friday) by the Education Policy Institute, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The EPI report highlights the scale of the disruption caused by the pandemic and the necessary funding needed to repair the damage. The EPI estimates that interventions costing £13.5bn over three years are necessary.
“The Government’s response is utterly insufficient. Instead, it must invest properly in education to enable children and young people to recover. The Government has only set aside £250 per pupil, which compares poorly with other nations such as the Netherlands and the United States who are investing £2,500 and £1,600 per pupil respectively.
“The investment proposed by the EPI is for the purpose of education recovery caused by the pandemic; however, schools have been in financial difficulty for years. Before the pandemic more than a quarter of maintained secondary schools were in deficit and class sizes had risen sharply. In January 2020, a million children were being taught in classes of more than 30.
“School budgets have been hit hard by coronavirus and have had inadequate reimbursement from Government. Schools have had to spend more on cleaning, heating, supply costs and other covid security measures, while important sources of income such as from lettings is down. The public sector pay freeze in September is clearly intended to help balance the books - punishing teachers and support staff who have gone the extra mile during the pandemic.
“The Government must prioritise education in the forthcoming Spending Review so that schools can increase the number of properly-qualified teachers on staff and bring down our historically high class-sizes. The solution to covid cannot be yet more austerity.
“For any plan to succeed we must also end the blight of child poverty – no longer can we allow children to come to school hungry.”