From education to employment

£2bn school and college funding shortfall revealed, as education associations write urgently to Conservative MPs

First fall in GDP
  • Analysis reveals Conservatives will miss their 2019 school funding manifesto commitment by £2bn
  • The average secondary school will need to cut around 5 teachers because of underfunding
  • Safety alert on school buildings on warning that current rebuilding programme will take over 400 years to complete

Thirteen national education associations have written an open letter to Conservative MPs this weekend, imploring them to keep the school funding crisis at the forefront of their minds as they vote for the next Prime Minister.

The letter reminds Conservative MPs of their manifesto commitment to restore real-terms funding for schools to 2010 levels but notes that current forecasts predict a £2bn shortfall by 2024.

It says: “We urge you to stand behind your party’s 2019 manifesto commitment by seeking the assurance of leadership candidates to deliver on your pledge to restore school and college funding to 2010-levels, should they become leader.”

Fresh analysis by the organisations reveals that:

  • an average primary school will be facing a £35-45k shortfall by September 2024, equating to two support staff or one teacher
  • an average secondary school will be facing a £200-250k shortfall by 2024, which would equate to around four to five teachers.

MPs are warned that these cuts will impact schools in their own constituencies.

The letter continues: “A funding shortfall of this scale cannot be absorbed by schools and colleges without severely impacting the quality of education. Put simply, they will not be able to afford to continue to provide the education that pupils and students deserve.”

The School Cuts website will be relaunched in coming weeks, which will enable parents to see the likely impact of the financial crisis in their child’s own school.

The letter also draws attention to the worrying state of repair of schools up and down the country, stating: “There are now parts of the school estate that are in a dangerous state of repair. The rate of school rebuilding means buildings are expected to last for 400 years, raising significant safety concerns. Not only is capital investment in the school estate good for children it is good for the economy and can help the country return to growth”.

Conservative MPs are being urged to consider the impact of underfunding of schools and colleges on the life chances of children and young people, and to ask prospective candidates for leadership to commit to deliver on the 2019 manifesto commitment to return funding in real-terms to 2010 levels.

The letter ends: “Education has felt as if it is on the margins of political priorities. That must change. During the pandemic, our young people made enormous sacrifices to protect others. They will not forgive us if their life chances are further diminished.”

Letter in full:

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