Since 2010 there has been an 8% real term reduction in school funding (confirmed by the Institute of Fiscal Studies). It was hoped that, in the October Budget, the Government would listen to teachers, parents and students who are all too aware of the damaging effects ongoing cuts have to schools. Sadly, yesterday’s budget failed to hit the mark and, instead of reversing long-standing underfunding, offered a derisory £400 million capital money to be shared by schools across the entire country. The Chancellor then sparked a backlash by saying it could be spent on “little extras”.
Milton Keynes Council Cabinet member for Children and Families Zoe Nolan said,
“The budget has shown how much the Conservatives are failing our young people and the education system.There was no money for desperately needed classroom resources and teaching staff. I know how worried parents, governors and teachers will be about the future. The government are letting them all down. A decade of underfunding to our schools will only stop with a Labour government.”
Teachers and parents know full well that schools both require and deserve so much more than one-off ‘little extras’. They need guaranteed funding to maintain the basic essentials of experienced teachers, teaching assistants and resources, as well as adequate funding for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Parents in Milton Keynes, indeed across the whole country, will be greatly disappointed by this latest lost opportunity to properly fund children’s education.
Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union noted,
“The Chancellor has shown in this budget the depth of his ignorance on school funding. Schools have a £2 billion shortfall in funding a year – which is set to get worse. Capital funding has been cut by a third. A £400 million one off payment for ‘little extras’ will do nothing to address this.”