School spending on pupils has fallen by 8% says the latest report from ISF. This is due to cuts to local authorities and sixth forms, as well as rising pupil numbers. These cuts affect all aspects of school life from teachers pay, to resources procurement.
It is not a new topic of discussion that schools are in the midst of a funding crisis. Reports have been coming into the media for over a year now of schools having to ask for outside help to purchase and provide basic resources for their pupils.
In May 2017, a school in Sussex was forced to ask parents to donate various essential items such as glue sticks, pencils and Sellotape as they can no longer afford them. One parent told The Telegraph:
“Without resources, without toilet rolls, pencils, glue sticks, paper, our children can’t be educated.”
The parents from this particular school were, luckily, very forthcoming and understanding but these are no longer isolated issues.
As well as parents being asked to contribute to their child’s school lives by donating essentials, teachers are feeling the need to contribute too.
Teachers, including teaching assistants and support staff, are supplying their pupils with basics for learning such as pens and toilet rolls as their schools no longer have the money to provide them. A recent survey in The Independent revealed that one in five teachers have been asked to use their own money to provide their students with basic equipment that they need to learn.
Simon Winfield, Director of Red Monkey Play, has spoken about the funding cuts to education resources in schools and the effect on a child’s education:
‘It is very clear from visiting schools and talking with teachers that resources and funds available are having a major impact on their ability to educate our children to the standards they wish to achieve and it is damaging the development of our leaders of the future.’
Winfield, along with many directors, CEOs and teachers, is a supporter of BESA’s Resource Our Schools campaign and he agrees that good quality resources are a vital part of a child’s education.
The campaign has over 500 supporters and aims to raise awareness and bring about change as the funding cuts are causing resources procurement to decline. BESA Director, Patrick Hayes, commented on a need for higher quality school resources:
“There is a powerful evidence base to show that resources matter – from the size of the furniture, to the quality of the science equipment.
It is no surprise that there is a strong correlation between the best schools and those that can afford the best equipment. Schools know this and are now having to charge parents for materials that they could previously have afforded.”
But is it fair that the financial burden of basic resources falls upon parents and teachers? Another supporter, Simon Leggett, commented:
“If children are our future, why do we find it so difficult to invest in them with simple fundamentals such as pens, pencils and glue sticks?”
BESA’s new research on procurement in English maintained schools saw that funding for classroom and playground equipment looked to be static and procurement of furniture could continue to see a further limited dip in spending over the coming year. With no improvement in funding, the need to rely on outside finical support will only increase.
BESA’s Resource Our Schools campaign aims to ensure schools have access to the hhigh-qualityresources that allow pupils to obtain a wworld-classeducation that the UK is known for delivering. Support the campaign and sign up today.