Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union

“The outcry about the state of school and sixth form college funding continues. MPs, Local Authorities, Governors, Councillors, parents, teachers and school staff have all lobbied Government pointing out the perilous state of their finances and the impact this is having on the education of our children and young people. Yet still nothing happens. 

“The new updated School Cuts website, using actual Government figures, shows that £2.8bn has been cut from school budgets since 2015 and 91% of schools continue to face billions in budget cuts leaving them with less money than ever before. 

“Head teachers need money not for ‘little extras’ but for absolute basics. Lack of funds has resulted in increased class sizes, reduced staff, and subjects dropped from the curriculum. Teachers and headteachers are paying out for books, pens, and glue sticks, and even cleaning the school buildings themselves. It is absolutely disgraceful that schools are having to scrabble around to make ends meet in this way.

“The Prime Minister would do well to remember the impact that concerns about school funding had on voters in the last election. With nothing of any significance changed, voters in local and general elections will not have forgotten the neglectful and cavalier attitude this Government has taken towards school funding.”

“This is an intolerable situation. Children and young people are being short-changed by a Government that believes education can be run on a shoestring. This situation cannot go on. There needs to be a reversal of cuts to school budgets since 2010, and for the funding of schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision to be of a level that ensures all children and young people get the education they deserve.”

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union

This new analysis (25 Mar) updates our figures by using recently released figures for actual school funding, rather than the Government’s past estimates.

In addition, we have used the Government’s figures for school costs – published for the first time - which are rising faster than inflation. This shows the cuts are actually worse than our previous predictions. 

The School Cuts coalition analysis* of the latest Government school funding figures shows a shortfall in funding of £5.4 billion over the past three years with 91% of schools in England affected.

This is the most comprehensive examination of school funding figures, bringing together:

  • Schools Block allocations (which for 2018/19 also includes the new Teacher Pay Grant)
  • The Pupil Premium
  • Sixth form funding

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:


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“Schools across the country have had to make severe cuts and there are more on the way as reserves are drained and deficits increase. The reality of budget cuts is that schools have to operate with reduced staffing and this impacts on educational provision, such as less additional support for children and fewer curriculum choices. Schools are in the invidious position of having to decide on the least-worst option of where to make cuts or they will become insolvent.”

Rehana Azam, National Secretary, GMB, said:

“Low-paid support staff are regularly dipping into their own pockets so children can have food, stationary, and even sanitary products. We urgently need more funding for our schools - the time to act is now.

“Schools have been pushed to breaking point. The smoke and mirrors of ministerial spin do not disguise the reality that kids' free school meals are being cut further by this Government.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders’ union, NAHT, said:

“School budgets are at absolute breaking point. School leaders have made all the obvious savings. Now, class sizes are rising and the range of subjects schools can offer is shrinking as they desperately try to balance the books. Everyone agrees that the school funding crisis can only be solved by new money from the Treasury.”

UNISON head of education Jon Richards said:

“Enough is enough. Coffers are empty, as are bookshelves and staff rooms in many schools.

“With heightened concern over the mental health of young people, savage cuts mean fewer support staff to provide vital personal help.

“Schools everywhere are struggling. Ministers must act now or a generation of children will be disastrously let down.”

Unite national officer Jim Kennedy said:

“The Government needs to stop burying its head in the sand, drop the spin and wake up to the crisis in school funding. School cuts are resulting in reduced opportunities for young people in and out of the classroom and leaving staff struggling to deliver the best education they can. Ministers need to act fast to end the school funding crisis for the sake of the generations to come.”

Methodology and Data:  All the data including a spreadsheet with cuts figures for all schools in England is available here.

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