Two Brighton headteachers represented schools across the city when they delivered a letter calling on the government to reverse cuts to schools this morning.
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) November 14, 2017
Richard Bradford from Dorothy Stringer and Adrian Carver from Downs View School represented Brighton and Hove for the Worth Less campaign, which is calling for a rethink of a new funding formula which will see £1.7 billion removed from school budgets during the financial period 2015-20.
The campaign highlights disparities in how schools in different areas of England are funded, with schools in some areas receiving 60% less than similarly sized ones in others.
The heads say that the cuts are already hitting hard, with 1/3 of schools in deficit, leaving them with rising class sizes and stripped back curriculums.
Below-inflation rises in teachers’ salaries has led to a recruitment crisis, with 11,000 posts unfilled and schools forced to employ expensive recruitment agencies.
Meanwhile, schools are being hit with higher costs for national insurance contributions and pensions as a result of changed government policies.
The letter, signed by heads from 25 counties, says: “Following the announcement of the new National Funding Formula in September 2017, the secretary of state for education, Justine Greening, stated that the government had finally tackled ‘the iniquitous decades of postcode lottery in school funding across England’.
“Sadly, this is entirely inaccurate.
“Headteachers, students and their parents do not understand why every child has to sit the same Key Stage assessments or GCSEs while levels of capacity, resource and support are entirely different depending on where they live and where they go to school.
“The Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed that, even after the introduction of the new National Funding Formula, in real terms, the overall budget for school funding will have been slashed by 4.6% (£1.7 billion) during 2015-2020.
“Inadequate school funding is also leading to other unwanted consequences. Increasingly, schools are being compelled to ask parents for financial contributions to cover costs that we are unable to bear ourselves. This is an anathema to Headteachers working in the state sector.
“There is only one solution: more money is needed.
“We know that we have the universal support of parents. We will also be asking the Department for Education and MPs of all political affiliations to endorse this entirely reasonable request.
“A motivated, skilled and innovative workforce will be relied upon to support the nation through challenging future times. In our view, never before has such a relatively small investment in our country’s children seemed so important.”