Teaching unions unite in general election school funding call

14 May 17

Teaching unions have called on every candidate in the general election to pledge to address the “funding crisis” which they claim will costs schools £3bn a year by 2020.

The National Union of Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers and National Association of Head Teachers unions together with the GMB have today launched an updated schools cuts website, www.schoolcuts.org.uk, which enables voters to directly contact their parliamentary candidates to commit to protecting school funding.

The unions state: “At the last general election the Conservatives promised to protect the money ‘following your child into school’. This is a promise that was broken and we are now seeing the worst cuts to school budgets in a generation.”

The government have said they are investing “record” amounts into schools, with the education budget hitting £42bn in 2019-20 – however an Institute for Fiscal Studies report in April indicated schools are facing real-terms cuts.

Kevin Courtney, NUT general secretary, said school communities were facing the “devastating effects” of under under-funding.

“The NUT is calling on all parties to invest in our children and commit to reversing these cuts,” he added.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have unveiled manifesto pledges to invest billions in education if elected in the general election.

Jeremy Corbyn said he would reverse current cuts to corporation tax for his £19.4bn programme which includes creating a National Education Service, while Lib Dem leader Tim Farron plans to invest £7bn.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said: “Schools are already struggling to make ends meet, cutting subjects, staff and support for vulnerable children and asking parents for money. This is only going to get worse with the extent of the cuts schools face by 2020.”

The IFS have calculated that some schools could face a 7% cut in their budget after 2020 if the government’s proposed new funding formula comes into force.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The government expects schools to make £3bn of savings by 2020. These reductions put the stability of the whole education system at risk, and we call on all political parties to commit to addressing this shortfall.”

In March a Public Accounts Committee report concluded that the government’s cost-saving scheme for schools was “dangerous” for education standards as real-terms reductions were due to hit despite increases in cash terms.

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