Commenting on Financial sustainability of schools in England, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"Schools have been coping in very difficult circumstances, but the NAO report shows all too clearly that this is not a sustainable way forward. Even before meeting the costs of Covid safety with little support from Government, schools were struggling to make ends meet with successive real-terms cuts to funding over many years. For sixth form colleges, where funding shortfalls are even more severe, the situation has been truly dire with many closing or merging. 

"The report makes clear the perilous position of school finance at the local authority level. The deficit rose from £11 million in 2014-15 to £675 million in 2019-20. This forced local authorities to remove services provided to schools, which in turn resulted in further financial pressure on schools. The Department for Education's initiatives to advise schools on how to make cuts were worse than useless and ignored its very obvious role in creating such a difficult situation. 

"School budgets were often only balanced by cutting staffing, damaging provision to children. The NAO report finds that almost half of primary schools and four-fifths of secondary schools had been forced to cut the number of teachers to balance their books in 2017/18 and 2018/19. These are staggering figures and should act as a wake-up call for a Government which throughout this period denied there was any issue with school funding."