School governors call on government to increase funding in ‘unprecedented’ action

'A failure to invest in children now is a failure to give them the education they deserve'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 26 February 2019 18:16
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Hundreds of headteachers march on Westminster over school funding ‘crisis

School governors from more than 130 constituencies are calling on the government to address the damaging impact that funding cuts are having on pupils’ education.

The National Governance Association (NGA), which has organised the "unprecedented" action, has warned that schools are increasingly having to cut teachers, reduce subjects, and ignore essential repairs to buildings in an effort to balance budgets.

One of the schools taking part in the action is Hayward’s Primary School in Devon – which was forced to rely on its Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to fund an art teacher amid squeezed budgets.

One-to-one support for children with additional needs also had to be cut as a result of funding pressures.

More than 120 governors will go to Parliament later this week to speak to MPs as part of a week of action, the first of its kind, which is calling on the government to boost funding urgently.

It comes after thousands of headteachers skipped class for an unprecedented march on Westminster over school funding in September.

A recent NGA survey found that three in four schools governors feel they cannot manage the funding pressures they face without adversely impacting the quality of education they provide.

School spending per pupil has fallen by 8 per cent in real terms since 2010, according to the latest analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Governing boards are responsible for the financial oversight of their school which includes deciding how the budget is spent.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said: “Governors and trustees are committed to giving pupils in their school the best possible educational experience, but instead of deciding how they can best invest in children, they are having to decide what to take away from them.

“Each school has a unique experience of the effects of funding pressures but what unites governors and trustees is immediate and long-term concerns about the damage being caused to education at a time when there are more pupils than ever and when more and more is being asked of schools, including to care for a growing number of children with high-needs.”

The government should increase education spending by at least £3.5bn per year, the NGA has recommended ahead of the spending review later this year.

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Ms Knights added: “Increased school funding at all stages of education from early years to 16-19 is essential, not an optional extra, and a failure to invest in children and young people now is a failure by the government to give the next generation the education and opportunities that they deserve.

The Department for Education (DfE) has been approached for a comment.

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