Kids’ textbooks and art supplies now on the shopping list
PARENTS are being forced to fork out for their children’s textbooks as schools are increasingly “driven by cost cutting,” a damning study revealed yesterday.
A survey of over 1,000 teachers suggests class sizes are rising due to tighter budgets — despite the government’s claims that it has ring-fenced education spending.
Three-quarters of teachers said their budgets had been cut, and 60 per cent said the range of optional subjects had been slashed thanks to reduced spending.
The study, carried out by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), reveals that parents are being begged for cash in one in six of the respondents’ schools.
Parents are additionally being asked to pay for school concerts and sports days.
Ten per cent said their school now expects parents to pay for textbooks and 12 per cent for art and design technology materials.
School funding is set to be top of the agenda at the ATL’s conference, which begins in Liverpool today.
ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “The government needs to sit up and listen. Schools are already struggling to make ends meet and children are already losing out. But government underfunding means this will get much worse, since in two years’ time schools will have to make savings of more than £3 billion a year.
“Unless the government finds more money for schools and fast, today’s school children will have severely limited choices at school and children from poorer families will be even further disadvantaged because their parents may struggle to provide the resources schools can no longer afford.”
One teacher in northern England said they were teaching a “master class” of 64 students, while a teacher in Cornwall reported that “all vocational subjects” had faced the chop.
Schools are also renting out buildings to raise extra cash, 44 per cent of respondents said. One teacher recounted having to “cancel gymnastics lessons due to our school hall being leased out for educational conferences.”
NUT leader Kevin Courtney said: “Parents cannot sit back and watch their children’s education harmed by this bargain basement approach to schooling.
“More money must be found for our schools. Our government must invest in our country and invest in our children.”