Exclusive: Most schools can't afford essential furniture and computers

Fewer than one in five secondary schools are well equipped with suitable furniture, new research shows

Many schools are not full equipped with furniture and computers as a result of budget cuts, research shows

New research into resources in schools in England reveals a steep deterioration in the provision of essential equipment like furniture and computers, Tes can reveal.  

In the annual survey, carried out by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa), only 17 per cent of secondary schools said they were well equipped with suitable furniture, including desks and chairs, and storage facilities, including cupboards and shelves –  compared with 57 per cent in 2016.

When it comes to computer equipment, only 30 per cent of secondary schools said they were sufficiently equipped with ICT infrastructure and devices – compared with 67 per cent in 2016.

Besa's report states that uncertainty over budgets is having an impact on school leaders’ spending on resourcing. It adds: “This year there has been heightened concern, with nearly half of school leaders indicating budget uncertainty, compared to a third last year.

School budget cuts 'hit learning resources'

“Secondary schools, in particular, show concern over the impact budgets are having on staffing. In addition, secondary schools are also identifying more concern over the impact budgets are having on learning resources."

It states that in 2013 a third of secondary school leaders were optimistic about funding, compared to 10 per cent today. 

Primary school leaders were more optimistic. But the report adds: “Although they are more likely to indicate being well-equipped with teaching and learning resources than secondary schools, it remains the case that less than half of [primary] schools are now optimistic, compared to 79 per cent in 2015.”

The results are based on responses from 930 maintained schools in England (556 primary schools and 374 secondary schools).

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Since 2017, we have given every local authority more money for every pupil in every school but we recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and that we are asking them to do more. This is why we are supporting schools and head teachers to make the most of their budgets and reduce the over £10 billion they spend on non-staffing costs such as energy, water bills and materials.”




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