Exclusive: 7 reasons schools need more money now

NAHT calls for schools to get fully funded teacher pay rises, an uplift in pupil premium and reimbursed for ongoing Covid costs
19th October 2020, 5:00am


Exclusive: 7 reasons schools need more money now

The Naht Submission To The Government Identifies Seven Areas Where Spending On Schools Or Education Is Needed.

A school leaders' union is calling on the government to reimburse schools ongoing Covid costs and fully fund future pay rises.

The NAHT school leaders' union has made a series of demands of government in its submission to the upcoming comprehensive spending review.

Here are seven reasons why the school leader's union says the system needs more money.

Costs: Covid spending pushing schools over the edge

Related: School Covid costs could 'wipe out' catch-up funding

Warning: Maintained nurseries face perfect storm

1. Schools have already spent thousands on Covid costs

The NAHT has revealed that in the first few weeks of term, schools in England have spent an average of £8,017 on additional costs to minimise the risks of Covid-19 and have also lost on average £9,755 because of restriction.

Now the union's submission to the spending review is calling on the government to "fully reimburse the additional costs schools, colleges and nurseries have faced, and will continue to face, as a result of implementing Covid-19 safety measures outlined in government guidance". 

2. SEND system is facing a £1.2bn shortfall

The school leaders' union says it welcomed the government's announcement that it would increase SEND high needs funding by £780 million in 2020/21.

But its submission adds: "However, it is abundantly clear that this will not address the £1.2 billion funding gap in SEND funding that the Local Government Association has identified.

The NAHT is now calling on the government to urgently address the SEND funding crisis through this spending review.

3. Pupil premium funding has dropped in real terms

The union submission document said that although there was a small increase in pupil premium in 2020-21, it has remained frozen for most of the time since 2015. This has resulted in primary pupil premium losing seven per cent of its value in real terms and secondary pupil premium losing eight per cent of its value in real terms since 2015.

Now the union is calling on the government to restore pupil premium funding to its 2015 levels.

4. Maintained nursery schools need funding certainty

The union was involved in a report which warned that maintained nursery schools are facing a "perfect storm" in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, with only 10 per cent confident they can carry on with current funding levels.

A third of maintained nurseries were in deficit at the end of 2019-20, and even before the pandemic only 51 per cent expected to balance their budgets in 2020-21, according to a survey by the Early Education charity and the NAHT, NEU and Unison unions.

The NAHT's submission to the spending review calls on the government to provide a long-term, sustainable funding formula for maintained nursery schools.

5. Early years pupil premium is worth less than a quarter of the pupil premium

The heads' union point out that the early years pupil premium is currently worth £302 per child, compared to £1,345 for the pupil premium in primary schools. 

The NAHT says that through this spending review the early years premium "should be substantially increased, working towards parity with the primary pupil premium over time". 

6. Schools 'cannot afford pay rises that are not fully funded'

The school leaders' union says schools "do not have the fiscal headroom" to reverse a decade-long real-terms decline in the salaries of teachers and leaders. It adds:  "The available funding to do so is simply insufficient."

The submission to the spending review says: "The NAHT therefore believes that all future employer costs, including salary, National Insurance and pension contributions should be fully funded by government. 

"Such funding must be in addition to the £7.1 billion already pledged by 2022-23. We urge government to revert to previous practice by funding all pay uplifts in full, and in a timely manner."

7. School estate 'needs billions' to bring buildings to a good condition

The NAHT submission highlights that a National Audit Office report found in 2017 found that it would cost £6.7 billion to return all school buildings to satisfactory or better condition, and a further £7.1 billion to bring parts of school buildings from satisfactory to good condition." 

The union also highlights that there has been a significant decline in capital spending between 2009-10 and 2019-20, falling 44 per cent in real terms. It calls for the spending review to prioritise school capital funding to ensure it "is sufficient to properly maintain and repair the school estate".

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Schools already have the certainty of a three-year budget settlement, providing the biggest increase to core school funding in a decade, beginning this year.

"The £2.4 billion pupil premium has been supplemented with an additional £1 billion Covid catch up fund, to ensure no child falls behind as a result of coronavirus.

 "The Prime Minister has also announced the transformative new School Rebuilding Programme, which begins this year with the first wave of 50 schools, with further detail to be set out following the Spending Review.

 "The outcome of the Spending Review will be announced in due course."

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