7 February 2017
Commenting on the Institute for Fiscal Studies' Green Budget 2017, published today, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Public sector spending has already suffered brutal cuts under both George Osborne and Philip Hammond. The IFS is right to warn that cuts will continue to be felt well into the next decade.
“The cuts are widespread, hitting every aspect of our vital public services including education. We predict that if the Government remains on its present course, schools alone will lose £3bn a year in real terms by 2020.
“If the new 'fairer funding' formula announced in December is put into effect, 98% of schools will see per-pupil funding cuts in real terms. This is by no measure 'fair'. For funding to be fair it must be sufficient to meet the needs of education. The Conservatives have been happy to lavish funds on pet projects such as free schools and academies, but they have consistently failed in their responsibility to all schools.
“Continued real terms cuts in schools and sixth form colleges will result in increased class sizes, the loss of school and college staff, a reduction in subjects covered by secondary schools and sixth form colleges, as well as cuts to extra-curricular activities and resources. All will have a negative impact on pupils and students.
“The IFS have pointed out the reality of on-going school and college cuts. Education spending had risen to almost 6% of GDP by 2009-10 and this figure had already fallen sharply by the time the Coalition took office. On the current trajectory, it is set to fall further. (1) The increase in spending in the 2000s did much to improve schools and colleges and, as a result, children’s chances in life. It is a terrible indictment of this Government that it is systematically cutting funding to education and so sacrificing the future prosperity of the country.
“The obstinate refusal by successive Chancellors to increase school funding to match inflation, as well as to compensate for historic losses, means that schools will continue to face serious challenges for years to come.”