Struggling schools need an extra £2bn a year, heads tell Hammond

A headteachers' union has written to the chancellor calling for more money as parents across the country plan a day of protest over squeezed school funds

Jonathan Owen

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Chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond has come under pressure to give billions in extra funding to schools in his forthcoming autumn Budget.

In a letter to the chancellor released this morning, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers' union, warns that schools "do not have enough money” and “budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point.”

The letter pays tribute to the Department for Education for having “dug deep” and found an additional £1.3bn for schools funding, but says this is not enough to bridge the funding gap – with an additional £2bn a year needed.

The letter states: “Our own estimates are that in the light of growing pupil numbers and the GDP deflator published by the Office of Budget Responsibility to estimate general inflation over the period 2015-16 to 2019-20, schools will need at least an additional £2billion a year to retain the same level of funding in real terms as they received in 2015-16.”

It said: “There is no more important area than school funding, which is why it is so disappointing that the Treasury has been so silent on this key area.”

A detailed case for funding has been submitted to the Treasury by the teaching union, outlining the reasons that school funding “is still in crisis” despite the money pledged to date, with more than one in three schools running at a loss in 2015-16.

The letter adds: “In your own Runnymede and Weybridge constituency, where there are 34 schools, funding will fall by £2,160,794 by 2020 meaning each pupil will have £160 less spent on them. Forty-seven teacher posts will be lost.”

The demand comes amid growing concern over the level of funding for schools. Thousands of parents and teachers are preparing to take part in a series of protests across England on Wednesday, when human chains will be formed around schools.

The day of action, organised by campaign groups Save Our Schools, Fairer Funding for All Schools, and Rescue Our Schools, is aimed at increasing the pressure on Mr Hammond to allocate more funding in the autumn Budget.

And the chancellor is also facing calls by headteachers, governors and students across England to address years of “chronic underinvestment in sixth-form education” and provide an extra £244 million a year for 16-19 provision.

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