Last month, Education Secretary Justine Greening confirmed details of the National Funding Formula for schools and repeated a pledge to allocate schools an additional £1.3bn between 2018 and 2020. However, this “extra” funding is being withdrawn from the capital budget for schools. Campaigners and education unions say the money will not be enough to reverse the effects of the £2.8bn in cuts seen since 2015.
At the end of last month, more than 4,000 head teachers put their names to a letter to parents that set out some of the impacts of these cuts. It claimed that schools faced a “postcode funding lottery”, meaning some schools could afford to run class sizes of 20, while others could be forced to have 35 pupils per class.
“The finances of very low-funded schools are still insufficient to provide the service that your child needs,” the letter read.
Simon Murch, a teacher in Sheffield, told the Guardian that most schools still faced budget cuts in real terms.
“What this means in Sheffield is that lots of schools are looking to restructure and teaching assistant posts are being lost. Some schools are not putting salaries up. There is a lot of scrabbling around trying to find ways of saving money,” he said.
Speaking about the National Funding Formula, Greening said it would provide an increase in the basic amount allocated for every pupil and a minimum per-pupil funding level targeting the lowest funded schools.
But joint NEU General Secretary Kevin Courtney disagreed, saying: “The government has been promising ‘fairer funding’ for years but has instead been cutting schools’ funding per pupil in real terms. This has resulted in larger class sizes, a reduced curriculum, fewer teachers, resources and materials. This clearly is detrimental to children and young people’s education.”