UK school funding crisis worsens

 

UK school funding crisis worsens

By
Tom Pearce

14 October 2017

The majority of schools in the UK are facing an unprecedented funding problem. Many schools are being forced to ask for parent contributions for essential resources.

According to the National Education Union (NEU)—recently created from the merger of the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers—88 percent of schools face a real terms cut despite the announcement from the ruling Conservatives that there will be more funding by 2019.

Over the last five years, the ever-worsening situation has been opposed by campaign groups and teachers, who have demanded equal allocation of funding among schools as well as increased funding. In response to criticism, in July the government promised an additional £1.3 billion in a package of “fairer funding.”

With the extra money, total budgets are to increase to £2.6 billion for schools in England over the next two years. This was described by Education Minister Justine Greening as a “historic reform.” The truth is that no extra spending at all is being allocated by the Department of Education (DoE) as the £1.3 billion is coming from “efficiency savings” from its existing budget.

Some £420 million of the savings will be cut from the DoE’s capital budget. Further savings of £250 million will be made in 2018-19 and £350 million in 2019-20 from the Department’s resource budget, with £200 million to be taken away from its central school improvement programme.

Despite the hype from the Tories as they announced the details of the new package last month, the money being provided falls far short of what is needed and will hardly make any difference to the situation facing the majority of schools. The increase equates to just 0.5…

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