Unions to consult members over Autumn Budget response

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Three education unions are to consult their members on the next steps for action after last week’s Autumn Budget.

In a statement last week, the National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said they will be “seeking views on how best to take forward the campaign for improved funding” ahead of next year’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

It comes after chancellor Philip Hammond failed to give schools any significant funding boost in his Budget announcement.

He caused particular anger by announcing more money for tackling potholes than for education.

He said: “I recognise that school budgets often do not stretch to that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference. So I am announcing a £400 million in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need. A one-off capital payment directly to schools averaging £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school.”

He then unveiled an additional £420 million for local highway authorities to “tackle potholes, bridge repairs, and other minor works”.

The three unions say that the £400 million “does not remotely address the eight per cent real-terms decline in total school spending per-pupil over the past eight years, including cuts of over 20 per cent to school sixth-form funding”.

Neither does the funding cover the teacher or support staff pay rises that the government has agreed.

Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: “So much is contingent upon a properly funded education service – the life chances of young people, the economic and social welfare of the nation, and the goal of greater social mobility. All of this is being put in jeopardy by the government’s continued failure to provide sufficient funding for schools and colleges.”

The unions have said they will open separate consultations with their members from mid-November. Before the Budget, their Hands Up funding campaign set-out six demands:

  • Reverse school cuts now.
  • New money from the Treasury.
  • High needs, early years and post-16 education fairly funded.
  • A five-year funding plan.
  • Historic underfunding addressed.
  • All pay rises fully implemented and fully funded.


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