Head teachers march over school funding

28 Sep 18

More than 1,000 head teachers from across England marched today and delivered a letter to the chancellor to convey their concerns about the state of school funding.

Campaigners cited staff cuts, increased class sizes and reduced subject choices as reasons behind their march.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told PF: “Around 1,000 head teachers have left their schools for the day to come to London because they think the message has not yet got through to the Treasury that we cannot continue to have high expectations of an education system and not put money into it.”

Barton noted that independent bodies had highlighted the extent of the cuts, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which recently found that spending per pupil fell by 8% between 2009-10 and 2017-18.

Barton - who was a headteacher for 15 years - said that the “only way” to make savings was to lose staff, which in turn means increasing class sizes and he added schools had been forced to “axe some courses” like drama and art.

The former teacher added: “We are talking about funding but it’s also about social mobility, it’s about children being disadvantaged because we cant afford to do the things most people in society think we should.

“Today is about turning our gaze to the Treasury because they are the ones who, through the budget and spending review, have to release the cash and show that this is a national priority.”

 

 

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “There is more money going into schools than ever before, rising to a record £43.5 billion by 2020 – 50% more in real terms per pupil than in 2000.

“The OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending more per pupil than countries including Germany, Australia and Japan.

 “We know that we are asking schools to do more, which is why we are helping them to reduce the £10 billion spent each year on non-staffing costs, providing government-backed deals for things like printers and energy suppliers that are helping to save millions of pounds.”

On Tuesday, the shadow education secretary vowed to scrap academies and return control of education to councils.

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