Governors warn £2bn needed 'to give pupils the education they deserve'

Funding crisis means governors are 'having to decide what to take away from pupils', says National Governance Association

Martin George

The National Governance Association has issued nine demands for school funding in this year's comprehensive spending review.

Governors from across the country are set to lobby MPs to demand urgent government investment in schools.

Tomorrow’s day of action comes as the National Governance Association (NGA) issues nine demands for the upcoming government spending review.

Last year, a joint Tes-NGA survey of more than 5,000 governors found that almost three-quarters believed that financial pressures would harm the quality of education that their pupils receive.

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The NGA said governors and trustees from more than 130 constituencies would take part in action to highlight their concerns to local MPs.

School governors under pressure

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said that instead of deciding how best to invest in children, governors are “having to decide what to take away from them”.

She added: “Each school has a unique experience of the effects of funding pressures but what unites governors and trustees is immediate and long-term concerns about the damage being caused to education at a time when there are more pupils than ever and when more and more is being asked of schools, including to care for a growing number of children with high needs.”

She said that a failure to invest in pupils now “is a failure by the government to give the next generation the education and opportunities that they deserve”.

The NGA’s nine demands are:

  1. The core revenue budget must be increased by at least £2 billion per year so that the basic rate that schools get for each pupil covers the costs of their education;
  2. The high-needs budget for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities must be increased by at least £1.5 billion per year;
  3. The rate for 16-19 pupils must be increased to at least £4,760 per year;
  4. The pupil-premium funding must be protected in real terms and included in the national funding formula, with reporting requirements retained;
  5. The government must review funding for early years so that all children have access to high-quality, teacher-led early education;
  6. The national funding formula must be implemented in full as soon as possible, with funding distributed directly to schools/ trusts;
  7. Funding settlements should be for a minimum of three years to enable schools to properly plan their budgets;
  8. The government must make sufficient capital funding available to return all school buildings to satisfactory or better condition;
  9. Local authority funding of services for schools and children must be properly funded, as must children’s mental and physical health services, so that pupils come to school safe, well and equipped to learn.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Since 2017, we have given every local authority more money for every pupil in every school and made funding fairer across the country.

“We have protected the core schools budget overall in real terms since 2010, and put an additional £1.3 billion into core schools funding across 2018-19 and 2019-20, over and above plans set out at the last spending review.

“While there is more money going into our schools than ever before, we do recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and that we are asking them to do more.

"That’s why we have introduced a wide range of practical support to help schools and headteachers, and their local authorities, make the most of every pound, ensuring resources are being used in the best possible way to improve outcomes for children.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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