COMMENT: Head teachers lay bare their concern over funding levels
It’s understandable that individual teachers don’t want to come out and be critical of education funding. They have to think of their careers. But in private and between themselves, you can imagine the conversations.
– Today we reveal how not a single head teacher who took part in Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan’s survey said they were satisfied with the current level of funding.
Anonymity allowed them to be honest about what was happening in their classrooms – and they didn’t hold back.
Of the 13 schools involved in the survey, se ven head teachers said they had been forced to cut teaching assistant numbers since 2015 and almost half said they were aware of staff spending their own money to provide resources.
It’s alarming enough that more than half of the schools have had to shed support staff, who play such an important role in helping the less able pupils.
But five head teachers said they had also had to cut special education needs and disability provision as budgets had been axed at a time when more children with complex needs are entering the education system.
Meanwhile we seem to have got to the stage where it’s become routine for teachers to have to dig in their own pockets to pay for books and equipment.
One head teacher even s aid: ‘This is the worst funding per pupil in my lifetime.’
But while Mr Morgan claims school budgets have been cut by £7.7bn in real terms since 2011, the Department for Education insists more cash has been put into the system.
A spokesman counter-claimed school funding in England was at its highest ever level, rising from almos t £41bn in 2017-18 to £43.5bn by 2019-20.
But the real-world responses from teachers at the chalkface would seem to suggest that whatever money is going into education today, it’s nowhere near enough.