Government defends school funding proposals in response to Havering NUT petition

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 February 2017

The Department of Education disputes the NUT's figures

The Department of Education disputes the NUT's figures

PA Wire/PA Images

Teachers are calling on people to back their petition to the government for extra funding for schools.

The Havering branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) says funding proposals will see schools and academies in the borough lose £14.7m by 2019/20 – the equivalent of losing £413 per pupil.

Ray Waxler, Havering NUT’s secretary, said: “The government’s 2015 election promise to ‘protect’ school funding is clearly not being honoured. In reality there is no extra money to cover inflation or increased staff costs.

“The National Audit Office confirm that this amounts to £3bn, or an 8 per cent (pc) reduction in real terms funding per pupil and means that schools face serious difficulties in balancing their budgets.

“But the problems don’t end there, because, at the same time, the government are proposing a new formula for funding schools.”

The NUT also claims that the proposals will lead to increased class sizes, loss of staff and cuts to extra-curricular activities and resources.

The government disputes these figures.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said: “The union’s figures are fundamentally misleading. School funding is at its highest level on record and will be over £40bn in 2016-17.

“Over the last six years we have seen the number of children being taught in schools that are rated good or outstanding rise by more than 1.8m.

“The unions ignore the fact that we are protecting per pupil funding so where pupil numbers rise, the amount of money schools receive will increase.”

The spokeswoman added that “the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated” and said that the changes will bring an end to the postcode lottery.

The government has also said that Havering would receive an overall uplift of 0.6pc in school funding and called on people to take part in the consultation process – which runs until March 22.

“We will continue to provide advice and support to help them (schools) use their funding in cost effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services.”

Mr Waxler hit back at the government and said: “The total funding may be at record levels, but if it is less than is required – as it fails to take inflation, increased costs etc into account – schools, and our children, will be short-changed.”

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