SCHOOL leaders across Thurrock have sent letters home to pupils’ parents and carers to warn them about the lack of funding facing schools and the ‘difficult choices’ they are having to make as a consequence.
Letters have been sent to more than a million parents and carers in the North East, West Midlands, Cheshire, North Yorkshire and Thurrock.
45 schools have taken part in Thurrock, reaching nearly 23,000 homes. Thurrock schools have been very hard hit by government underfunding, with the average primary school losing £105,601, and the average secondary losing £174,509.
The letters encourage parents to sign a petition asking the government for increased school funding, which has reached over 100,000 signatures already, and has forced a debate in Parliament.
“As a school, we feel that it is our duty to provide parents with a fair and accurate picture of the real state of school funding in our area. All state schools in England are funded by a central government grant that is administered by the Department for Education (DfE). According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), school funding per pupil has fallen 8% in real terms since 2010.
“Schools are having to make difficult choices on how to spend their limited funding as their income has not kept pace with the rise in costs since 2010. All schools are working very hard to ‘make ends meet’ but this is becoming increasingly difficult and verging on almost impossible. Bank of England information shows that £100 of goods in 2010 cost £121.90 in 2017 (which is approximately a 20% increase), and school funding has not kept up with the increase in costs.”
The schools sending the letters are facing severe real-terms funding cuts, with many losing more than £100,000:
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The government has acknowledged that school budgets are under pressure, and that schools are expected to do more. They also acknowledge these new demands cost more money than before. They also cannot have failed to notice the steady procession of school leaders, governors, parents and others campaigning for more money for schools. It is therefore utterly inexplicable that they have failed to act. Only new money from the Treasury can solve the school funding crisis.”