Funding for schools

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2017 Local Government Service Group Conference
14 February 2017

This conference believes that the government proposals for school funding reform in England are flawed, unfair and fail to address the funding crisis affecting schools.

The DfE proposals will only result in a flat cash settlement for schools and takes no account of the increasing costs for schools resulting from from inflation and increased staffing costs.

The proposals threaten to cut funding to many schools in some of the most deprived areas of the country, threatening the quality of education of children and the jobs of support staff in schools.

Already, many schools are struggling. A UNISON survey of school support staff in 2016 found:

1) 13.7% of respondents said that their school had made redundancies over the past year and 11.7% of respondents said that their school is planning to make redundancies over the next year;

2) More than one in five respondents (22%) said that their school had left vacant posts unfilled over the past year leaving a reduced workforce;

3) Over a quarter of respondents (26.7%) said that their school had made cuts to budgets for books and resources over the past year;

4) Over one in five respondents (21.7%) said that their school had cuts to special educational support needs over the past year;

5) Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) said that their school had increased class sizes over the past year;

6) More than one in five respondents (21.7%) said that their school cut the budget for maintenance and school improvements over the past year;

UNISON recognises that there is some unfairness and inconsistencies within the current system but believe that any revised formula should be based on levelling up funding to schools to the level of better-funded authorities rather than cutting the funding of schools in these authorities.

This conference resolves to:

a) Provide support advice and guidance to branches and school reps on school funding reform;

b) Work with other education unions in the campaign against these proposals and highlight the funding crisis in schools;

c) Engage with parents and communities in local campaigns to protect school funding;

d) Lobby politicians from all parties on the impact of reform in their constituencies and on the need for more funding for schools;

e) Give full support to any branches faced with attacks on terms and conditions or redundancies resulting from school funding reform;

f) Instruct the SGE to work with the NJC committee to investigate the possibility of a national trade dispute, within the rules of the union and relevant legislation, to secure an adequate funding formula for all schools that will protect education and therefore the jobs of school workers, if possible co-ordinated with other relevant unions.