80 per cent of schools worse off under spending plans

The School Cuts coalition has revealed new figures which suggest that four in five of England’s schools will be worse off next year than they were in 2015.

Despite additional funding announced by the government in August, the joint analysis shows that over 80 per cent of schools – around 16,000 – will still have less money per pupil in 2020 in real terms than they did when the cuts began in 2015.

The coalition, comprising NEU, NAHT, ASCL, UNISON, Unite and GMB unions, stress that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent promises to ‘level up’ funding will not get to the heart of the crisis in school funding. The unions suggest that the allocation to schools in 2020/21 still needs £2.5 billion to reverse the cuts which have taken place since 2015, meaning that children in almost all local authorities in England are still losing out.

Furthermore, approximately one third of all schools will see real-terms cuts to their budgets next year because school costs are greater than inflation, with schools with the highest levels of deprivation set to be the worst affected.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union, said: “For years, our heads, teachers and school staff have done all they can to mitigate the impact on children. But the buck stops with the government. Prime Minister Johnson has made lots of empty promises on school funding – but his numbers don’t add up. The latest funding announcement falls well short of settling the shortfall for every child. And crucially it fails to reverse the cuts schools have suffered since 2015. It’s unthinkable that our schools have to go on like this – losing support staff, shedding subjects and cutting back on basic maintenance just to balance the books. We are calling on the Prime Minister to put the money where his mouth is and end the funding crisis in education once and for all.”

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responded: “It is now clear that Boris Johnson has failed to keep his pledge to reverse the Tories’ education cuts, let alone matching Labour’s plans to invest in a National Education Service. Even worse, it is pupils with special educational need and disabilities, and the schools that serve the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, that are paying the highest price for the Tories’ broken promises.

“Not only is day to day funding for schools nowhere close to enough to provide the high quality education our children deserve, but cuts to capital funding mean that school buildings are crumbling and new places aren’t being created where they’re needed. Labour will invest in an education system that gives every child the best start in life.”