Schools funding is still in crisis – prepare to lobby

Published October 10, 2017 at 13:31

UNISON is calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to start increasing schools funding when he sets next year’s budget in November.

And we’re working together with other education unions to hold a Lobby Against School Cuts on 24 October, to show MPs that school funding is still in crisis and that real increases in funding are needed.

In September, the Department for Education announced the outcome of its consultation into the future of school funding in England. There are some significant changes from the original proposals announced earlier in the year.

The department stated that an extra £1.3 billion pounds will be made available for schools over the next two years and that no local authority will face cuts in per-pupil funding.

It has also introduced increased minimum funding levels for the lowest-funded authorities, which will give some schools more significant increases in funding.

However, while UNISON has cautiously welcomed these improvements, we do not believe they are enough and we still have major concerns. These include:

  • the extra £1.3 billion is not new money. It has been recycled from other areas of the department’s budget;
  • even with this ‘extra’ money, it still means a below-inflation increase in funding for schools;
  • 88% of schools will still face real-terms cuts in funding per pupil;
  • the settlement does nothing to reverse the substantial funding cuts that schools have suffered since 2010;
  • schools continue to struggle with limited resources and increasing class sizes;
  • there is no additional money for early years or sixth-form pupils;
  • there is no certainty about what will happen with school funding after 2019/20.

UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “These improvements would never have happened without the campaign by trade unions, parents and communities to expose the cuts being faced by schools.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank members and branches for all their work in campaigning against school cuts.

“That’s why this lobby is essential, to show MPs that school funding is still in crisis and that real increases in funding are needed.”

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