What schools want

Schools do not want sympathy, they want action

To the Editor of the Henley Standard


Whilst we agree with John Howell that the current formula for distribution of funds ‘for those little extras’ is unfair, Mr Howell entirely misses the point on school funding.

The key point is that in England, spending per pupil is *down* 8% since 2010. This is indisputable according to the highly respected Institute of Fiscal Studies research which concludes “That total funding per pupil in England has been reduced, when looked at in the round, taking into account changes in pupil numbers and different routes of funding schools and age groups”.

The Education Policy Institute has said almost a third of all council-run secondary schools are now in deficit and, according to last year’s Kreston UK report, eight in ten academies are in deficit.

The DFE has been strongly criticised by the Office for National Statistics for using misleading responses to this (and other) funding stories.

Sir David Norgrove, who chairs the UK Statistics Authority, has written to Secretary of State Damian Hinds on four separate occasions.

In the last letter of October 2018, he stated that he has “serious concerns about the Department for Education’s presentation and use of statistics”. He continued: “school spending figures were exaggerated by using a truncated axis, and by not adjusting for per pupil spend.

In the blog about government funding of schools, an international comparison of spend which included a wide range of education expenditure unrelated to publicly funded schools was used, rather than a comparison of school spending alone.  The result was to give a more favourable picture.

Yet the context would clearly lead readers to expect that the figures referred to spending on schools”.

Last week 1,115 local Councillors wrote a joint open letter to Mr Hinds.

The letter from the National Education Union stated “The NEU believes the situation cannot go on and there needs to be a reversal of cuts to school budgets since 2010, and for the funding of schools and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision to be of a level that ensures all children and young people get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live.”

”The government must heed the calls of locally-elected representatives who can see first-hand the havoc school cuts – compounded by biting cuts to precious local government funding – are wreaking on many young people.”

The F40 campaign group which has been campaigning for fairer funding in education for more than 20 years, has three core aims, including achieving an immediate cash injection of £3.7billion into education.

All parents understand the effects of these cuts on children’s education.

You are in the best position Mr Howell to lobby for increased funding for schools in your constituency, please start fighting.

All citations provided.

Michelle Thomas, Prospective Candidate South Ward, HRG  and all sitting Councillors and Prospective Candidates, North and South Ward, HRG



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