Grave warning over schools funding gaps

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Wigan’s MP has made an urgent plea for more funding for schools as unions warn borough learning centres are facing significant cuts.

Figures released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) show that overall school funding in the borough is projected to be slashed by almost £19m by 2020.

This works out at a £444 cut per pupil or a 10 per cent average fall per school, they have warned.

Lisa Nandy has urged chancellor Philip Hammond to commit more funds to the education system in his Autumn Statement next week.

Ms Nandy said: “Across the country we are already seeing increased class sizes, subjects being dropped from the curriculum, pupils with special educational needs and disabilities losing vital support and teacher and school staff vacancies being left unfilled.

“Without additional resources this already desperate funding situation in schools will only get worse.

“I am calling on the Chancellor to invest in education later this month and protect funding for children and young people in Wigan.”

The teaching unions have warned that many schools across the country are having to dip into reserves to combat budget deficits.

And headteachers say budgets have not kept up with rising costs.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers: “No head teacher should be put in the position of increasing class sizes, leaving building repairs undone or cutting staff and resources simply to balance the books.

“Nor should any parent accept this for their child. We are one of the richest countries in the world. We can and we should be funding our schools properly.”

The Government has promised an overhaul of the funding formula for schools in England.

But delays have hit plans for a national funding formula aimed at reducing inequalities in the system. It is due to be introduced in 2018/19.

The Department for Education has previously said school funding was at record levels, £40bn per year.

But officials have accepted the system for distributing that funding is in need of a revamp.

Ms Nandy said even with the new funding formula schools would be facing budget deficits.

Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers: “We urge the Government to increase the overall funding for schools.

“If it just reallocates the existing budget many children will lose out, with some of the most deprived children being hit hardest.

“It is ill-conceived to think the formula for schools’ funding can be reformed alongside real terms cuts to the overall schools’ budget.

“No school should be forced to cope with a drop in funding that will jeopardise its ability to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum and recruit and retain staff. All children deserve a fair chance to succeed and should not suffer because schools are under-resourced by the Government and teachers over-worked.”