Unions warn of school cuts
Parliamentary candidates are being urged to pledge that they will address school funding cuts that are estimated to hit a vast majority of schools across Wigan borough.
As campaigning for the upcoming General Election gathers pace, four unions - the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers (ATL), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and GMB - announced that they have updated a dedicated website (schoolcuts.org.uk) to allow voters to email candidates in their area asking them to oppose cuts to education.
Schools in England have to make £3bn in savings by 2019/20, according to Government estimates, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.
This has been followed by borough representatives warning schools across Wigan will have to make significant cutbacks on staff, learning resources and essential maintenance plans.
NUT general secretary, Kevin Courtney, said: “School funding cannot be fair until it is sufficient and so taking £3bn a year from schools can only lead to greater unfairness. Every candidate in every constituency needs to be aware of these figures.”
ATL general secretary Mary Bousted, said: “Schools are already struggling to make ends meet, cutting subjects, staff and support for vulnerable children and asking parents for money. This is only going to get worse with the extent of the cuts schools face by 2020.”
The Department for Education has described the figures as ‘’misleading’’. Ministers have repeatedly argued that school funding is at record levels and this will increase further over the next two years as pupil numbers rise.
But critics say the new funding system does not adequately account for rising running costs and rising pupil numbers. Each of major parties are expected to finalise their school funding pledges ahead of election day.