School funding ‘not good enough’, says teachers union

Amanda Martin from NUT
Amanda Martin from NUT

Primary school in Gosport celebrates one year since merger

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A TEACHER’S union says the government’s pledge to offer an extra £1.3bn for schools over the next two years is ‘not good enough.’

Amanda Martin, national executive member of the NUT for Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight has welcomed the boost in funds but says that more is needed to stop schools from slashing budgets.

Justine Greening, the education secretary, made the announcement yesterday that the funds would be allocated for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years and would be funded by ‘efficiencies and savings’ in the Department for Education’s budget.

Ms Greening also confirmed the plans to introduce a new national funding formula to try to ensure money is distributed fairly across the UK.

This funding formula — which is set to be ratified later on this year — was criticised by Portsmouth headteachers and union members during its consultation period earlier this year with some schools saying they would lose money, while others would gain extra funds.

At the time, the Department for Education said that overall Portsmouth would see an increase in funding of £1.2m under the proposed changes.

Ms Martin said: ‘This new £1.3bn fund is a start and shows that the pressure has paid off. We will always welcome more funding for our schools. However, it is simply not enough. They are still spending billions of pounds on projects which are not needed such as the plans for free schools. This funding really is a sticking plaster. Schools are still having to review their own budgets and plan redundancies.

Steven Labedz, executive headteacher of the Salterns Academy Trust which looks after Trafalgar School in Hilsea said the funds should ‘level things out’ for secondary schools in Portsmouth.

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP said the funds would help relieve some of the pressure on the city’s schools, adding: ‘This additional cash into the system is very welcome.’

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, agreed with the union that the funding was a ‘sticking plaster.’

He added that the funds would ‘do nothing to help the schools struggling’ and that the government had failed to clarify what programmes would be cut to allocate the new funds.