The school funding crisis has resurfaced over the past week with the release of a new report by the Education Policy Institute on schools’ deficit and cost pressures.
The EPI report shows that the proportion of English secondary schools in deficit has nearly trebled since 2013/14, while the average primary school deficit noticeably increased, from £72,042 in 2010/11 to £107,962 in 2016/17.
In addition, the EPI found that pressures on schools budgets are so significant that half of the schools will struggle to afford the annual 1% pay increase for school staff. It reports that to respond to their cash-strapped situation, schools have undertaken a variety of efficiency measures to deliver cost savings, such as switching suppliers, reducing energy usage and reducing the size of leadership teams.
This will likely have consequences on schools’ resource budgets too. Indeed, the latest annual research on Resources in English Schools conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) shows that resource budgets experienced a 5% decline in secondary schools in 2016/17 and are projected to keep falling in 2017/18, by 3.5% across primary and secondary schools.
We know that outstanding schools are the best-resourced schools; there is a powerful evidence base to show that resources matter – from the size of the furniture to the quality of the science equipment. If the new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, wants to solve the teacher retention crisis, it is important he and the government recognise the role of resources in saving teachers’ time and helping them teach interactive, engaging lessons.
We cannot let the tough financial decisions that schools have to make in the current situation jeopardise children’s education. Just like the NAHT is not dropping its efforts with its School Funding STILL in Crisis campaign, BESA’s Resource Our Schools campaign has never been more important.
It is crucial that we rally behind it, to ensure that every school has access to the resources they need to deliver the education that our children deserve.
Sign our statement here.