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Teachers considering action over 'little extras' budget

Three education unions to consult members on what action to take following chancellor's failure to address school funding shortfall

strike pay conditions wales colleges FE

Three education unions to consult members on what action to take following chancellor's failure to address school funding shortfall

Teachers and heads could take industrial action following the chancellor’s failure to address the "schools funding crisis” in the Budget.

Strike action could be on the cards after three education unions jointly announced they were each to "consult" their members this month on what action to take after Phillip Hammond opted to give schools £400 million for “little extras”.

In a joint-statement issued today, the National Education Union (NEU), the NAHT headteachers’ union and the Association of School and College Leaders said the cash "does not remotely address” the 8 per cent real-terms decline in total school spending per pupil over the past eight years. 

At the NEU, around 400,000 members will be engaged in a "survey", mostly electronically, with one question specifically asking if they would vote for strike action.

Joint general secretary Mary Bousted said: “Enough is enough. Schools are being failed by a chancellor with a tin ear to the desperate situation they find themselves in.”

Geoff Barton, ASCL's general secretary, said the union's 19,000 members would simply be asked an open question along the lines of: “What do you think the ASCL should do next?”

He told Tes: “I wouldn’t be surprised if people say in their response that there should be industrial action but I wouldn’t want to pre-empt it."

He added: "The level of fury and frustration among our members is unprecedented, but the ASCL represents a very broad range of leadership, and we want to get a feel for how things are playing out on the ground. ”

Mr Hammond described the extra £400 million as an "in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need", and said primaries would receive an average of £10,000 while secondaries would get around £50,000.

But in the joint statement, the unions said the one-off allocation does not supply full funding for the teacher or support staff pay rises that the government has agreed.

They also highlighted that funding pressures had resulted in cuts to curriculum and enrichment activities as well as individual student support, classroom resources and maintenance budgets.

None of the unions’ six tests for the Budget were met last week, including that cuts should be reversed and new money introduced.

The NAHT will be consulting more than 29,000 school leaders across England, Wales and Northern Ireland about “next steps”.

General secretary Paul Whiteman said: “Schools and young people are definitely much too far down the government’s list of priorities, and for them, austerity is most certainly not over. We will be taking all appropriate action to influence the content of the Spending Review in the spring. And we must be clear: only new money from the Treasury will solve the school funding crisis.”  

The separate consultations will open in the week ending 16 November.

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