Head teachers are to march on Downing Street on Friday 28 September in an unprecedented bid to get improved and sufficient school funding.They are calling for increased investment in our schools after three years of savage funding cuts have caused untold damage.
The demonstration plans to bring a thousand head teachers together to demand and secure adequate funding for every school, reversing the real terms cuts of the past few years. They also want an immediate £400 million cash injection to support Special Educational Needs and other high costs, and improved real term per pupil funding in the post-16 education.
Other demands include that any public sector pay agreements should be fully funded. In the longer term, the 2020 comprehensive spending review must ensure that every school is sufficiently funded.
The protest is being organised by the grassroots campaign Worth Less?, building on an event the campaign organised in October last year (see caption).
The school funding crisis cannot be ignored. It is causing major havoc and has reduced the curriculum offer, increased class sizes and harmed provision for special needs and sixth form students among many other impacts.
Head teachers and teaching unions have campaigned reasonably and relentlessly for three years to get improved real terms funding, but matters are getting worse.
One head teacher leading the campaign has said, “Headteachers are completely committed to their work and the students and families in our care. But when you reach a point where hundreds of heads feel that they have no choice but to campaign at Downing Street, it's clear that all else has failed. Every head going is doing so with the support of their governing body or trust. Heads are not travelling from Cumbria and Cornwall for a ‘day out’. We are fighting for our schools and a fair and adequate set of resources to do our jobs.”
Heads and teachers are fed up with hearing from the Department for Education and government that everything is fine and “more money than ever before is being spent on schools” – when the exact opposite is occurring. The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says that in real terms, school budgets have shrunk by 8 per cent over the past eight years.
The heads are demanding that every school is adequately funded, particularly for the most vulnerable students, as schools lack the resources to support youngsters with Special Educational Needs and often money meant for them is being used to prop up core budgets.
Head teachers from across England have agreed to take this message to Downing Street but more voices are needed to join the cause. The government needs to know the school funding crisis cannot be ignored. Brexit needs our young to be well educated in good schools that have the resources to work properly. Reverse the schools funding cuts and invest in the future of our country.