Schools ‘must ratchet up fight for funding’

Northumberland Gazette latest
Northumberland Gazette latest

A North-East education charity has urged headteachers to press the case for the new Government to fill the looming black hole in school finances.

SCHOOLS NorthEast – the UK’s first, and only, regional schools network – called on school leaders to intensify their efforts to secure much-needed funding to stave off swingeing budgetary cuts that are threatening education.

The potential pact between the Conservatives and the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland) has led to speculation that the more controversial elements of the Tory manifesto – the reintroduction of grammar schools and a move to a national funding formula for schools – will be abandoned.

The DUP manifesto included a clear commitment to fight for more schools funding, saying it was committed to ‘resolving the funding crisis facing our schools thus ensuring that we prioritise frontline funding for our schools so that all our children receive the best educational start in life’.

SCHOOLS NorthEast has called on the teaching profession to write again to all MPs and to the Government to ensure they are aware of the punishing impact of a funding shortfall that will see a real-terms cut in school budgets of between 8 and 20 per cent by 2020.

Mike Parker, director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, said: “Funding is the single greatest threat to pupils in the North East getting a high-quality education in the coming years.

“Schools are facing an impossible task in trying to balance the books in the face of a £3billion funding shortfall over the next three years.

“With staffing costs accounting for 75 to 90 per cent of a school’s total budget, the depth of cuts required will be devastating if the Government doesn’t move swiftly to properly fund education in this country.”

A Department for Education spokesman previously said: “Northumberland’s funding would go up by more than £2million if the proposed new funding formula was implemented.”