Government says it's "scaremongering based on speculation"
Above: a snapshot of local schools from the Schoolcuts website
The National Union of Teachers fears that changes to the funding of schools will cut millions from local school budgets.
The NUT has compiled figures it has based on Department for Education data that is aimed at finding a new funding formula which the Government believes will be fairer to all.
However the NUT says, "We estimate that 92% of schools could face cuts in their funding per pupil in real terms over the next four years, with no local authority – and no MP – set to gain overall, even after the redistributive impact of the Government’s “fair funding” proposals have been taken into account. There are no proposals as yet for any new money in the schools budget that would change this."
In response to proposed Government changes the NUT has launched the schoolcuts.org.uk website, which spells out the impact of the Government’s current funding policy. "Use the website to enter a postcode and immediately see the impact on all schools in that area," says the union.
The projected figures show that the worst hit local schools would stand to lose between 13% (Southfields Academy) and 15% (Riversdale, Swaffield, Beatrix Potter and Earlslfield Primaries) of their current budgets. In the case of Southfields Academy this equates to a £807,251 loss which is equivalent to £970 per pupil or 21 full time teachers.
Labour's Education spokesman and Roehampton Councillor Jeremy Ambache said, “The Government plans to cut almost £6m from schools in Putney by 2020. This is equivalent to losing 162 full time teacher posts and will have serious consequences for the education of local children. I appeal to Justine Greening – the Education Secretary – to stand up for her Putney constituents and to protect schools in her constituency by opposing these cuts.”
Our request for a response to these figures from Education Secretary and local MP Justine Greening was passed to her department and a DfE spokesperson said, "This is irresponsible scaremongering based on speculation. It’s unfair and confusing for parents, pupils and schools themselves. We are due to publish a new fairer funding formula, and as the NUT and ATL (The Education Union) admit, their speculative figures do not take that into account.
“In reality the schools budget has been protected and in 2016-17 totals over £40billion, the highest ever on record. The government's fairer funding proposals will ensure that areas with the highest need attract the most funding and end the historic unfairness in the system."
On Monday (14 November) the following exchange took place in the Education Orals in the House of Commons:
Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab):
"The Secretary of State has talked about the fair funding formula she wishes to introduce. Analysis by the National Union of Teachers says the Government’s proposals will mean that for Hull schools will lose £13 million and 370 jobs by 2020. Is that correct: yes or no? "
Justine Greening responded:
"No, it is not, and indeed we have not set out the second stage of the consultation, so there are no figures to base that analysis on."
November 23, 2016