Last Friday (11th October), the Department for Education released new data showing how much schools will receive next year. In the morning in a BBC interview, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson described school funding as being a “bit tight”.
From April 2020 the extra money is intended to ensure per-pupil funding for all schools can rise in line with inflation and deliver “promised gains in full” for areas that have been historically under-funded.
Shreeve: “A funding crisis”
The funding has been welcomed by Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Robert Seely, but Peter Shreeve, Assistant District Secretary Isle of Wight for the National Education Union, says it’s not “a bit tight”, but a funding crisis.
Peter says that on the Isle of Wight in the last year alone:
- Numerous support staff have lost their jobs or had their hours or pay cut, which means there is less support for staff.
- Numerous teaching assistants have lost their job or had their hours cut, which means there is less support for students.
- There are twelve maintained schools in deficit.
- Specialist Support has been narrowed as cuts continue.
Shreeve: Whole generation missing out on proper education
Although Bob Seely said he is delighted that Island schools are set to receive a funding boost next year following Friday’s announcement, Peter went on to say,
“We’ve lost subjects on the curriculum. Teachers are continuing to pay from their own pocket for classroom supplies. Our school buildings are in disrepair.
“It’s not a bit tight when a whole generation of children are missing out on a proper education.
“For Island headteachers, who have been struggling to balance the books for years, the comment “a bit tight” causes at best incredulity.”
“For years, our schools have been struggling with impossible budgets. Heads, support staff and teachers have done all they can to mitigate the impact on children.
“During one restructure conversation this year, which was implemented at the start of the new academic year last month, one school leader said to me, ‘We are now one brick thick with staffing’.”
Seely: Will be arguing for increase in Island’s SEN budget
Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Robert Seely said,
“I am delighted that all Island schools are seeing an increase in funding. This is part of the Government’s promise to prioritise the nation’s education.
“At a minimum, every secondary school will receive at least £5,000 per pupil and every primary school will receive at least £3,750 per pupil next year. This will rise to £4,000 per pupil the following year.
“It is also important that more money is being put into SEN provision. We need more focus and more provision for SEN children on the Island. £780m more is being put into SEN nationally, and I will be arguing for an increase in the Island’s SEN budget.”
Peter finishes by saying that the School Cuts Website shows that for most schools nationally, 83% are still losing out next year because of Government cuts.
However, he says, the impact locally is greater with over 95% of schools, ie 45 out of 47 Island schools losing out – 12% higher than the national average.
“The Government’s latest funding announcement thus falls well short of settling the shortfall for every child, including those with special educational needs.
“Crucially, it fails to reverse the cuts our schools have suffered since 2015.”