Education & Family

Head teachers appeal for funds ahead of Spending Review

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Image caption The NAHT says schools face rising costs such as higher pension and National Insurance contributions

Head teachers have written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan expressing their concern over future funding for schools in England.

The National Association of Head Teachers claims education is being seen as a cost rather than an investment.

Ahead of next week's Spending Review, the NAHT is calling for a fair national funding formula for education.

The Department for Education says it is "protecting the schools budget, which will rise as pupil numbers increase".

In his letter to Ms Morgan, NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby asks the government to match the overall level of funding to the "real cost pressures in schools".

He writes: "As you will know, we have recently launched our Breaking Point report looking at funding.

"It found that nearly two-thirds of school leaders are making 'significant' cuts or are dipping into reserves to stave off deficits, with four in five reporting that budget cuts would have a negative impact on standards.

Image copyright NAHT
Image caption Russell Hobby: "For too long education has been seen as a cost"

"Flat cash education spending at a time of rising costs - employer costs for National Insurance, an increase in teachers' pensions to name just two - shows that the money coming into schools is not keeping up with the costs they face."

The letter also calls for:

  • a period of stability to help manage costs as well as improve performance
  • a fair national funding formula to ensure that limited funds go where they are most needed
  • children eligible for the Pupil Premium to be registered automatically
  • further investment in school business managers

Mr Hobby adds: "For too long, education has been seen as a cost - in fact, education is an investment, in both children and society as a whole.

"We would urge you, in conversations with Chancellor George Osborne, to call for progressive funding arrangements for education. It's time that funding reflects the true realities on the ground."

Spending fall

Last month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said spending per pupil in England's schools was likely to fall by 8% in real terms over the next five years.

The IFS says this will be the first time since the mid-1990s that school spending has fallen in real terms.

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Image caption The government says it is committed to fair funding for schools

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "We are protecting the schools budget, which will rise as pupil numbers increase.

"This government is committed to making sure schools are funded fairly so all pupils have access to a good education - a key part of our core mission to raise standards across the country and make sure every child reaches their full potential.

"We have made significant progress towards fairer funding for schools, through an additional £390m allocated to 69 of the least fairly funded areas in the country - the biggest step toward fairer schools funding in 10 years."

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