‘Fair funding’ must also mean sufficient funding, say education unions

Following the publication of the Government’s final proposals for its long-awaited National Funding Formula (NFF), organisations representing school staff, teachers and leaders – ATL, GMB, NAHT, NUT, UNISON and Unite – have updated the schoolcuts.org.uk website to reflect the funding losses facing each school in England.

The picture is extremely bleak.  The Government has accused funding campaigners of scaremongering, but the updated figures are worse than previously predicted.  The website, which now uses funding data published by the Department for Education, suggests that 98% of schools face a real terms reduction in funding for every pupil, with an average loss for each primary pupil of £339, and £477 for every secondary pupil.

According to the National Audit Office schools will face a real terms drop of £3 billion. This threatens the successful implementation of a new NFF which has long been the goal of many organisations in education.

While a new NFF can address disparities in funding between schools facing similar challenges, the total budget must be sufficient before there is any chance of being fair to all children.

The reassurances which Schools Minister Nick Gibb sought to give Conservative MPs, that schools would not lose money, are proven to be false.  The scale of the funding crisis facing schools is so great that MPs are becoming increasingly awarethat schools in their constituencies will suffer unmanageable cuts.

Today, we publish the league table for England’s 533 Parliamentary constituencies – every one of which stands to lose out from the Government’s new funding proposals, with per pupil funding losses reaching over £1,000 in the worst hit cases.

Those affected include the four main protagonists in the school funding proposals:

Prime Minister Theresa May, the MP for Maidenhead, can expect a real terms cut of £377 for every pupil in her constituency. All bar one of her schools will face real terms cuts, in the worst case by £872 for every pupil.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, can also expect to see all bar one school in his constituency suffer under Government spending policies. The average cut across the constituency will be £285 for every pupil.

Education Secretary Justine Greening is MP for Putney. Every school in her constituency will experience real terms cuts, with an average loss of £655 for every pupil. The worst-hit school will see a loss of £834 for every pupil in real terms.

Nick Gibb, Schools Minister and MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, will see every school in his constituency lose out. The average loss for every pupil will be £309 in real terms.

Whilst they are losing, many others are losing even more. Attached is a complete list of England constituencies and the losses anticipated for each.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said: “Cash-strapped schools are struggling to give children a decent education. The funding crisis means overcrowded classrooms, support staff not being replaced and parents having to pay towards the cost of lessons. Children, parents and staff deserve so much better.”

Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said:
“It is incredibly difficult to produce a formula that funds all schools in England fairly, but unless the Government puts more money into the overall budget all schools will struggle to make ends meet. Many parents are already being asked to pay for text books and IT and help fund-raise to pay for support for children with special educational needs and this will increase. Instead of wasting money on expanding grammar schools, the Government needs to put the money where it will make the most difference – funding existing schools adequately – otherwise a whole generation of children will have a severely restricted education.”

Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB union, said: “Theresa May’s Tories are running our schools into the ground, trampling over our children’s life chances, and undermining hard-working school support staff. School Cuts reveals how every single constituency in England stands to lose out from the Government’s funding proposals, putting unmanageable strain on the dedicated public servants who are trying to do the best by our kids. This is a wake-up call – we need funding for our future, not relentless and self-defeating budget cuts.”

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Every single MP in England has reason to be worried about our latest analysis which shows how every constituency will be adversely affected by the Government’s recently-announced funding proposals. Schools are already on their knees trying to make ends meet. Budgets have been cut to the bone and decisions such as increasing class sizes and losing staff have already been made. To avert this national scandal, Government must reassess its plans and make substantial new funding an urgent priority so that all schools have sufficient money to run an effective education system.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said:  “School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. The government’s £3 billion real terms cut to education funding must be reversed or we will see education and care suffer. Already heads are being forced to cut staff, cut the curriculum and cut specialist support. A new funding formula is the right thing to do, but it cannot be truly fair unless there is enough money to go round in the first place.”

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, said: “Schools and school support staff must have proper investment to deliver good education outcomes for all children.  We call on Government to stop the cuts and fully fund our schools and education services”

Editor’s Notes

1)      The http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk website has been updated to reflect the DfE’s newly released figures.
2)     The National Funding Formula second stage consultation is available here. The accompanying data showing the impact on schools is here. The block allocation page is here and dataset here. The NAO’s inflation forecast is here (p. 15 of Full Report).


–          ATL: Christine Gregory – day 0207 782 1589, out of hours 07918 617466, switchboard 0207 930 6441. Email: cgregory@atl.org.uk
–          GMB: 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk
–          NAHT: David Boot, Press & Parliamentary Officer – 01444 472 483 / 07595 067060; Rose Tremlett, Press & Campaigns Officer – 01444 472 874 / 07540 760629. Email: pressoffice@naht.org.uk . Out of hours number: 01444 472 886
–          NUT: Caroline Cowie – 0207 380 4706 / 07879 480061 / c.cowie@nut.org.uk
–          UNISON: Liz Chinchen – 0207 121 5463 / 07778 158175 / l.chinchen@unison.co.uk
–          Unite: Shaun Noble, Senior Communications Officer – 0203 371 2060 / 07768 693 940 / shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org