21 JUNE 2017
Responding to the Queen’s Speech today and the announcement of the Government’s legislative programme for the next two years, ASCL, ATL, NAHT and NUT issued this joint statement:
“The Government is not listening to voters. The General Election campaign showed that education funding is a key priority for the electorate, with over three quarters of a million people changing the way they voted because of the issue.
The problems in schools and sixth form colleges are real and immediate. £2.8 billion has been cut from school budgets in the last two years. Schools are struggling to afford materials, sending out begging letters to parents and even considering closing earlier in the day to save money.
Today was a golden opportunity for the new Government to show they’ve understood the scale of the problem in education funding by announcing immediate plans to provide the additional funding needed. The lack of urgent action is deeply disappointing. The suggestion that Government guidance to schools on financial health and efficiencies is the answer when schools are so starved of funds, will be greeted with dismay by all the school staff and school governors who are working so hard to protect pupils from the damaging cuts.
At the very least, to stop cuts to the curriculum and staff numbers that are happening now, schools need a promise of a 5 per cent increase in education funding from this September. Restoring funding to 2015 levels for schools and helping with sixth form college, early years and high needs funding. This needs to be followed in April with the further additional funding needed to reverse all funding cuts to date, ensure an increase in real terms and to finance the implementation of a fair funding formula.
The notable absence of any mention of expanding selective education in today’s announcement is welcome. There was little appetite for the Government’s proposals and Ministers had failed to produce a shred of evidence in support of their plans to create more grammar schools.
The decision to row back on plans to end universal free school meals for infants is also good news for families, children and the cause of social mobility. The absence, however, of the new money needed to properly address school funding problems is lamentable.
Few will shed a tear that these parts of the Conservative’s election manifesto have been dropped.
The campaign against education cuts goes on. Parents, teachers, support staff and school leaders will be lobbying their MPs in their constituencies over the coming days and weeks. MPs will be left in no doubt that this issue will not go away and that the campaign will continue until the additional money schools and sixth form colleges desperately need is found”.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary Association of School and College Leaders
Mary Bousted, General Secretary Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Russell Hobby, General Secretary National Association of Head Teachers
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary National Union of Teachers
ASCL, Richard Bettsworth, Tel: 0116 2991122 or 07885467344. E-mail: Richard.Bettsworth@ascl.org.uk
ATL press office, direct line: 020 7782 1589, out of hours 07918 617466, switchboard 020 7930 6441.
NAHT press office firstname.lastname@example.org Steven George on 01444 472483 or 07595067060
NUT press officer, Caroline Cowie email@example.com, 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061.