The Funding Crisis in Our Schools

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A staggering 91% of schools in the UK have had their per-pupil funding cut since 2015- does this include your children’s school? The chances are high that your child attends a school affected by the cuts to school budgets. Perhaps you are one of the many parents who has received letters from the heads teacher regarding their financial difficulties? Or maybe you’ve been asked to contribute out of your own pocket towards classroom essentials?

At VAKS Tuition we have watched over the last 4 years as schools have been asked to do more with less money. We are parents ourselves and work closely with teachers, education professionals and the families of our students. We’ve witnessed first hand the deterioration in the educational provision as budget cuts have left schools struggling to provide basic resources, pay teaching staff or deliver SEND support. In 2018 the Institute of Fiscal Studies confirmed what head teachers have been saying for years, that in real terms school funding has been slashed by 8% since 2010.

Has my child’s school been hit by funding cuts?

Here in Hertfordshire 444 out of 475 schools are facing cuts in funding. Between 2015 and 2018 Hertfordshire schools have lost out on £107,800,000 in funding, which is the difference between the current budget and the amount needed to protect per-pupil funding in real terms. According to the Government’s school census, there are 179, 236 pupils in Hertfordshire, which means there has been a loss in funding of £253 per pupil.  

Unions have highlighted that in real terms there has been £2.8 billion cut from UK school budgets since 2015, although recent analysis by School Cuts suggests the shortfall could be as much as £5.4 billion in the last 3 years. You can find out if your child’s school, or schools in your local area, have experienced budgets cuts on the School Cuts website. School Cuts is a campaign, led by the National Education Union, which is exposing the truth about the school funding crisis.

What are the effects of school budget cuts?

  • Over 30% of schools had budget deficits in 2018, which is up from 8.1% in 2014 (Education Policy Institute).
  • Less per pupil funding per year
  • A reduction in the number or hours of teaching staff
  • A reduction in the number or hours of teaching assistants
  • The range of subjects on offer are shrinking
  • Class sizes are rising
  • SEND children not receiving adequate provision or appropriate school placements
  • Children with mental health or pastoral care issues not receiving the necessary support
  • Staff and parents having to contribute to basic supplies such as stationery, books, food and sanitary products

Headteachers are taking action

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One of our VAKS team members received an alarming letter from the head teacher of their child’s school in Hertfordshire, which was written to inform parents about the challenging conditions facing the education sector. Schools are not receiving adequate funding or the resources to deliver the level of provision that children deserve. The letter concluded by urging parents to assist in the campaign for increased funding for schools by contacting local MPs, the DoE and wider Government

The letter also explained how headteachers across the country are working together to channel these concerns through a united voice. Heads of schools have been involved in intense lobbying of the Department of Education and Government, and have attempted communication with Secretary of State for Education on multiple occasions. School leaders want to meet the Secretary, Damian Hinds and take a proactive role in addressing funding issues but their requests to meet have been repeatedly declined.

There are many campaign groups comprised of teachers, school staff and parents who are tirelessly pushing to save the future of our children’s education. The Worth Less? the campaign group is made up of 64 Local Authorities and Boroughs, covering 1000s schools and millions of families. The grassroots movement has organised history-making protests, such as last year when 2,000 head teachers took unprecedented action by staging a march in Westminster. This shows how the levels of concern are far-reaching, and that budget cuts are causing a nationwide crisis of school funding.

Why is no one talking about this?

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The Department of Education and the wider Government are still denying that a decrease in funding has occurred. A spokesperson claimed: “School funding in England is at its highest ever level and since 2017 we have given every local authority in England more money for every pupil in every school.” The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has publically criticised the education secretary, Damien Hind, for “potentially misleading” claims over schools funding. Sir David Norgrove, the UKSA chair, has expressed “serious concerns” about the Department of Education’s misleading use of data and statistics.

This blatant manipulation of the facts, combined with an unwillingness to address an ever-increasing crisis, is creating a climate of mistrust between teaching professionals and the Department of Education. A failure to acknowledge and rescue education funding will cheat an entire generation of the standard of education they are entitled to.  Efforts by the Department of Education to disguise the cuts to school budgets, combined with huge economic and political issues such as Brexit dominating the nation’s media, have meant that parents and the wider public are not receiving the full picture of our country’s school funding crisis.

How can you help?

As parents ourselves, we understand how important it is to take action on behalf of our children. Please help us to support School Cuts and Worth Less as they campaign for the Government to make real-terms investments in school funding.  You can sign up to the School Cuts campaign here to learn more about how you can help to end school funding cuts.  It’s 2019 and we live in one of the richest countries in the world- our children deserve better.

If you would like to learn more about how VAKS can help your child to reach their full academic potential in a confidence-building environment then get in touch today. Our education specialists are always on hand to discuss your child’s needs and any worries you may have regarding the school funding crisis.