“Education cannot be run on the cheap” – Mary Bousted writes for us ahead of tomorrow’s NEU Parliamentary rally

More than a thousand parents, teachers, school support staff and head teachers are tomorrow coming to London to keep up the pressure on the government to end the funding cuts facing schools in England and Wales by lobbying their MP.

Because of our campaign, the government has found £1.3 billion over the next two years from other parts of the Department for Education’s budget. But while this is an improvement, it is nowhere near enough to reverse the £2.8 billion real-terms cuts that schools have suffered every year since 2015, let alone address the further impact of inflation and other cost increases. the picture still remains bleak for schools.

Eighty-eight per cent of schools in England are still facing real-terms budget cuts per pupil between 2015/16 and 2019/20. For the average primary school this will be a loss of £52,546 a year, and for the average secondary school a loss of £178,321 a year.

MPs will hear about the damage this is having on education with cuts to curriculum subjects, hours of teaching, support for children, essential repairs and staffing.  Schools are writing to parents begging for money. Budgets have reached breaking point.

We will be asking MPs to join us in demanding that the Chancellor releases more funds in the Budget on 22 November for our schools to ensure every child and young person gets the education they deserve.

We have five asks for the government:

• reverse school cuts now: every school guaranteed at least the same money per pupil next year as in 2015
• new money from the Treasury: At least £2bn more is required every year just to maintain funding in real terms in the face of inflation, cost increases and rising pupil numbers.
• high needs, early years and post-16 education fairly funded: These areas have suffered even bigger cuts since 2010.
• a five-year funding plan: Schools need to be able to plan for the future with funding guaranteed for at least the next five years.
• historic underfunding addressed: Historically underfunded areas must receive extra money through levelling up with better funded areas, with enough new money for every pupil, wherever they live.

Education cannot be run on the cheap. The General Election showed parents expect schools to be properly funded. Schools are on their knees financially.  This is a crisis that goes far beyond a quick fix. In his Budget the Chancellor needs to give schools the money to ensure our children and young people get the education they both deserve and need. Our five tests set out what a fair funding settlement should look like. Funding can only be fair if it is sufficient.

Lobbyists will gather at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster, to hear speeches at 10.30am from Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Education Secretary; Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Education; and Vix Lowthion, Green Party Spokesperson on Education; and at 1:00pm from John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor; Vince Cable MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats; and Jo Yurky, Fair Funding for All Schools campaign. And during the day parents, teachers, support staff and heads will go to the House of Commons to meet their MPs.

  • Dr Mary Bousted is joint general secretary of the National Education Union

 

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