Schools are grappling with insufficient funding. As school budgets reach breaking point, there are inevitable consequences for the quality of education being provided to young people, as well as the working conditions of school staff.
New research from UNISON has shown that funding remains significantly below 2010 levels, and a pupil who started school in 2010 will have lost out on an average of £5,384 of funding as a result of budget cuts.
On a daily basis, this means larger class sizes, reduced access to student support services, cuts in extra-curricular activities provision like after-school clubs and trips, and reduced specialist support for SEND pupils.
It also means pupils and staff are learning and working in unsafe buildings, many of which contain asbestos and materials that were never intended to still be in use.
This is why UNISON members are emailing their local councillors, asking them to write to the Secretary for Education and ask for more money for schools.
UNISON wants Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan to consider the impact that chronic underfunding has had on our schools and on the life-chances of children and young people, and is calling for her to:
- increase per pupil funding so that schools can continue to deliver excellent education;
- reverse the cuts to schools capital funding, and ensure sufficient funding is available for schools to repair or replace all defective elements;
- ensure SEND pupils don’t miss out by investing in specialist provision and support staff in schools.
Thanks to UNISON members taking action, over 150 councillors have added their name so far, including councillors and council leaders from Labour, Green, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “The government can’t seriously believe that cutting school funding is a route to better education and improved outcomes for children and young people.
“In every community, cash-strapped schools and schools staff are in crisis. And although they continue to go above and beyond to support pupils, this isn’t sustainable.
“Thirteen years of dwindling school budgets has taken its toll on the life chances of children and young people, and on staff morale.
“Local councillors can join UNISON’s action by forcing the government to take a serious look at the impact of its failures and to deliver fair school funding.”