Schools are being hit by governmental “paralysis”, with a crucial announcement about funding understood to be on hold and further delays to teacher pay rises expected as ministers and officials divert their attention to the consequences of the Brexit vote.
A series of other policies, including initial teacher training reform, academy chain accountability and Year 7 resits are also expected to be held up – or dropped altogether.
Unions and sources close to government say that the introduction of a national “fairer” school funding formula – seen as a lifeline for schools facing major budget cuts – is likely to be called off this year, prompting warnings of teacher redundancies and bigger class sizes.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said school leaders were confronted by a funding situation “more uncertain than it’s ever been”.
Meanwhile the long overdue School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) report setting out the basis for the next set of teacher pay rises – supposed to be in September’s payslips – will face further delays after the leave vote.
Kevin Courtney, NUT acting general secretary, said the wait was “completely unacceptable”.
“It has never been this late,” he told TES. “Many younger teachers live on the edge of their overdrafts on a monthly basis. It’s terrible they don’t know when their pay rises will be.”
The unexpected vote for Brexit last Thursday, and its swiftly developing aftermath, have torn up all existing political priorities.
TES understands that one of the DfE’s most senior officials – Shona Dunn, director general for education standards – has already started work in a new Brexit team.
The Brexit vote has also raised major concerns about the recruitment of teachers from overseas. Derek Boyle, teacher training coordinator at the Bromley Schools’ Collegiate, a provider of school-centred initial teacher training (Scitt), said that he needed certainty about funding for EU teacher trainees by October.
“What if we want to train a French national as an MFL teacher?” he added. “And what’s the point if they are not allowed to work?”
One source told TES: “Everything is paralysed until we get a new prime minister. It’s not great, because there’s lots of stuff that needs to happen.” But they added that schools might enjoy being “left alone for a bit” by politicians.
A DfE spokesperson said: “Business continues as normal. We will provide further detail on forthcoming announcements in due course.”
his is an edited article from the 1 July edition of TES. This week's TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here