Education secretary Damian Hinds has told heads he will push for “the right level of funding for schools” in the Spending Review.
He told the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) today that there was “a moral argument and a hard-headed” case to make about the importance of school funding.
The education secretary was heckled at the union’s annual conference this time last year on the issue of funding.
However he left today's stage in Birmingham to warm applause after telling school leaders that he had “heard the message loud and clear on school funding”.
Quick read: Schools need £5.7bn more
Quick read: Schools 'are now a fourth emergency service'
Background: Hinds' plans to keep teachers happy
Tes revealed last week that the education secretary believes schools have a strong claim for funding in the government’s next Spending Review, which the chancellor has said will start before the summer recess if Brexit goes smoothly.
His speech at the ASCL conference today came as the union announced that it has calculated that schools need an additional £5.7 billion in 2019-20 to be able to deliver the education that society expects.
The headteachers’ union has also warned that schools have become a fourth emergency service for poor pupils, providing food, clothing and social-care support because of cuts to other services.
On schools funding, Mr Hinds said: “When the government sets out its spending allocation for the period ahead, I will take that opportunity to make the strongest case for education.
“For me, it is not only a moral argument about our priorities – although that cannot be overstated. But from a hard-headed point of view, for a strong, highly skilled economy, clearly we need the right level of investment [in schools], and with the revolution in technical education, we need the right investment in our colleges.”
Last year, some heads were unsatisfied with the response Mr Hinds gave to a question about funding, with a few shouting "answer the question" at the education secretary.
General secretary Geoff Barton said at the time if heads were seen "shouting things out" then they would "lose the respect of teachers and of parents".
Today Mr Hinds also outlined plans to provide support to teachers through the DfE’s recruitment and retention strategy.
He said a new expert advisory group will be created to look at how teachers and school leaders can be better supported to deal with the pressures of the job.
He said that teachers always put the good of their pupils first, but should not take their own wellbeing for granted.
Mr Hinds also told heads that he wanted to find ways of allowing people to try teaching out to discover if the profession is for them.