The government’s funding announcement last Monday is disappointing. It means a return to smoke and mirrors statements on school funding. UNISON has said that whilst any extra money is welcome, it isn’t enough to stop the huge cuts that schools are making.
Calculations published on the School Cuts organisations’ website show that under the Conservative Party’s manifesto plans for school funding, schools faced a loss of £11.6 billion in real terms between 2015/16 and 2021/22. The extra money pledged today is not sufficient to make up this loss. The government says it will ensure no school faces loss of funding in cash terms. In real terms, inflation will mean schools will be £2.1bn worse off in 2019/20 even after this increase is implemented.
Schools are already cutting curriculum choices, activities for pupils and teaching and support staff posts. Richard Harty, Coventry UNISON Schools’ Lead said “We are calling on the government to find further additional funding to protect all schools and avoid damaging cuts to children’s education…We are already seeing job losses in some schools in Coventry”.
As this is not new money, the government has been forced to reallocate money from a range of areas. For example, £280m will come from the free schools’ programme. The National Audit Office has questioned if this programme provides value for money. Nevertheless, the government now expects local authorities to fund 30 of the 140 planned schools.
This government announcement shows the power of the school cuts campaign run by unions, parents, politicians and local communities. We will continue to build the campaign. We call on the Government to find ‘new’ money to protect all schools in real terms and avoid these damaging cuts to children’s education.”
UNISON National Head of Education Jon Richards said: “Considerable extra money is needed to reverse the damage already done. Teachers and pupils are paying a high price because support staff have been axed…The loss of these jobs with other cuts is placing school children at risk. The government should be investing in their futures.”
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