Head teachers implore parents to fight against the cuts
MINISTERS are ploughing ahead with unpopular changes to the schools funding formula that will snatch cash from more than 9,000 institutions in England, the Queen’s Speech revealed yesterday.
Even head teachers of schools awarded extra money under the policy have said gains are likely to be outweighed by real-terms cuts. But the Queen’s Speech commits the government to funding changes, saying the current formula allocating local authorities money is "over a decade out of date."
It comes on the day that nearly two million families are being sent letters urging them to fight for more school funding.
The letters, sent by 4,000 heads, says "cash-starved" schools will have to axe staff and subjects unless more money can be found. Parents in Brighton, East Sussex, Northamptonshire, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Thurrock, Cornwall, Hertfordshire, Peterborough, Wokingham, Devon, Norfolk, Suffolk, West Sussex and Dorset will receive the letters, according to the BBC.
They say: "The only way for our cash-starved schools to function effectively is for proper investment — capital/buildings and revenue — to be made into existing schools.
"The government must also avoid giving schools additional money through a new formula and then taking it back again through ‘hidden costs’ and stealth taxes."
In her speech, Elizabeth Windsor claimed that the mooted changes had been "widely welcomed across the sector" — but unions blew apart those claims.
Teachers’ unions NUT and ATL joined the National Association of Head Teachers and Association of School and College Leaders to put out a statement accusing the government of "not listening" to voters.
"The general election campaign showed that education funding is a key priority for the electorate, with over 750,000 people changing their vote because of the issue," they said.
"The problems in schools and sixth form colleges are real and immediate, £2.8 billion has been cut from school budgets in the last two years.
"Schools are struggling to afford materials, sending out begging letters to parents and even considering closing earlier in the day to save money."
"The lack of urgent action is deeply disappointing."
But there was no mention of rolling out more grammar schools, suggesting the plans have been scrapped in favour of a pledged £500 million for new institutes of technology in England.
The Tories have also seemingly abandoned their widely derided plans to end universal free school meals for infants.