Schools worse off despite funding promise

New figures show that four in five of England’s schools will be worse off next year than they were in 2015.

In a major announcement in September, prime minister Boris Johnson promised school funding would be “levelled up across the entire country” and that there would be “no winners or losers”.

However, analysis by the Schools Cuts coalition of six education unions – including  UNISON, the NEU, and NAHT – shows that about 16,000 schools will have less money per pupil in 2020 in real terms than in 2015.

The report also points out that although the government said the schools budget would rise to £7.1 billion by 2022, there will be no additional funding until next year. The unions say that allocation to schools in 2020-21 still needs £2.5 billion to reverse the cuts that have taken place since 2015. Schools with the highest levels of deprivation are the worst affected.

Furthermore, a third of all schools will see real-terms cuts to their budgets next year because school costs are greater than inflation.

Even after an additional £700 million, the High Needs Block of funding to support the most vulnerable children and young people will still be £1.5 billion short of what is needed. In a joint statement, the unions called for the government to honour its promise to give schools the funding they need and to reverse, in full, the cuts made since 2015.

UNISON Head of Education Jon Richards said,

“The latest funding announcement falls well short of settling the shortfall for every child. And crucially, it fails to reverse the cuts schools have suffered since 2015.”

Dan Sartin, Branch Secretary of UNISON West Sussex, said, “We urgently need to reverse the cuts and begin to rebuild our education system so that every child can thrive.”

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