9 June 2017
As the dust starts to settle on the General Election it is clear that the Conservatives do not have the support of the country for their promises on education. Their manifesto commitment will, if implemented, result in an £8.9bn real terms cut for schools – when taking into account inflation and growing pupil numbers – between now and 2021/22. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated that there will be a reduction of seven per cent in per-pupil funding by 2022. Research published on the School Cuts website shows that in reality 93% of schools will, by 2022, experience a real-terms per-pupil spending cut. 8,912 schools (45%) will receive no additional funding between now and 2021/22.
One of the first acts of the new Government should be to publish its response to the fair funding consultation. But on current plans, unless the Government puts in new resources, this will lead to cuts in almost all schools, as shown on schoolcuts.org.uk.
If the Government decides to press ahead with these cuts the ATL and NUT are in no doubt that the campaigning of education professionals, parents, governors, MPs and local communities up and down the land will intensify over the coming weeks and months. From September, the amalgamation of our two unions to form the National Education Union (NEU) will strengthen our position and the support for this campaign.
This has been a defining election for education. Theresa May has no mandate for expanding selection at 11 and should immediately abandon this misguided policy.
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:
“Education was at the forefront of this election and many voters will have made their vote a vote for education. The Labour Party’s commitment to invest £4.8bn in schools, protecting school funding in real terms per pupil and protecting schools against inflation will not have been lost on the electorate. Theresa May has no option but to address this issue with urgency and ensure our head teachers have the money to run their schools properly without having to resort to begging letters to parents or cutting education provision. It is entirely feasible and entirely right that state education should be properly funded and resourced. The National Education Union will not let this Government destroy the education of a generation – education cuts never heal.”
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
“School funding was at the top of the election debate and the National Education Union will ensure that it stays in pole position in the months ahead. If Theresa May thinks that education is expensive she should try the alternative. As the Brexit negotiations start, the need for the next generation to be well-educated becomes even more necessary, particularly if we are to compete in a global market and for the next generation to lead fulfilled lives. Education cannot be delivered ‘on the cheap’. The Government must commit to funding schools properly to give children and young people their birth right as citizens – the knowledge and skills to make the most of their talents and abilities.”