Headteachers from 5,000 schools have backed a letter calling for more money for schools – which was delivered to Downing Street today.
The Worth Less? Campaign group wants the chancellor Philip Hammond to tackle “inadequate” school funding ahead of the budget next week. They say schools are increasingly being compelled to ask parents for donations.
It states that a lack of funds has led to “desperate requests to parents” for money, as well as class sizes rising above 35, extra-curricular activities being reduced and the most vulnerable students not receiving the comprehensive support they deserve.
The group, which is representing schools from 25 counties around England, says £1.7bn is due to be removed from school budgets between 2015 and 2020 and that the money should be reinstated.
“Crucially, schools in similar socio-economic areas, including special schools, are not operating on a level playing field. In fact, many headteachers in low funded areas feel that they are operating on a near-vertical slope,” the letter states.
Funding call: Headteachers from West Sussex prepare to set off to deliver letter to chancellor this morning
The government has vowed to tackle funding disparities between areas with a new funding formula.
But the group, led by West Sussex headteacher Jules White, adds that the new formula proposed by the government could mean that funding for schools of the same size can differ by £4 million depending on what area they are in.
And it says that the new funding formula cannot be implemented “in any meaningful way” because there is not enough money in the system to make it work.
“A motivated, skilled and innovative workforce will be relied upon to support the nation through challenging future times. In our view, never before has such a relatively small investment in our country’s children seemed so important,” the letter concludes.
'No cuts in funding'
Nick Gibb, the minister for school standards, responded: “The introduction of the National Funding Formula from 2018-19, backed by £1.3 billion of additional investment, has been widely welcomed and will put an end to historic disparities in the system.
“There are no cuts in funding – every school will see an increase in funding through the formula from 2018, with secondary schools set to receive at least £4,800 per pupil by 2019-20. As the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed, overall schools funding is being protected at a national level in real terms per pupil over the next two years.
“Our formula will provide significant gains for under-funded schools of up to 3 per cent per pupil in 2018-19 and a further 3 per cent in 2019-20.”