Parliamentary hopefuls targeted over funding

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
School cuts: The union-led website highlights the severity of the real-terms funding cuts facing schools in the coming years

As the June 8 General Election looms, trade unions are targeting individual Parliamentary candidates asking them to pledge to tackle the growing school funding crisis.

The School Cuts campaign, which is being led by a number of trade unions, has updated its website to allow anyone to directly email each Parliamentary candidate challenging them on school funding.

The website was set up last year to highlight how the proposed National Funding Formula, rising pupil numbers and rising costs such as pension contributions and National Insurance will affect schools.

It came after the National Audit Office revealed that the Department for Education is expecting schools to make
£3 billion of savings by 2020.

The website’s analysis shows that schools face a real-terms cut in per-pupil funding averaging £470 by 2020 (£554 in secondaries, £403 in primaries).

The National Union of Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, National Association of Head Teachers and GMB unions have now updated the website to enable voters to email directly their Parliamentary candidates to ask them about the funding situation.

Kevin Courtney, NUT general secretary, said: “Parents, pupils and teachers are seeing the devastating effects of under-funding and the largest school cuts for a generation.

“No one ever voted for this. School funding cannot be fair until it is sufficient and so taking £3 billion a year from schools can only lead to greater unfairness.”

He added: “Every candidate in every constituency needs to be aware of these figures. The NUT is calling on all parties to invest in our children and commit to reversing these cuts.”

His counterpart at the ATL, Dr Mary Bousted, said: “Schools are already struggling to make ends meet, cutting subjects, staff and support for vulnerable children and asking parents for money.”

She continued: “This is only going to get worse with the extent of the cuts schools face by 2020. We urge all Parliamentary candidates to pledge to invest properly in education and not divert funding to expensive free schools or selective education which only benefit a small minority of children.”

And the NAHT’s Russell Hobby added: “These (funding) reductions put the stability of the whole education system at risk, and we call on all political parties to commit to addressing this shortfall.

“To fund education fully and fairly, the next government must reverse the real terms cuts that schools are facing and provide enough money to make the new national funding formula a success.”

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