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EDUCATION: Must find funds for schools

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We may be reaching a tipping point on school funding. In recent days reports have been coming in thick and fast proving what school leaders already know – that budgets are at breaking point.

The influential Education Policy Institute reported that the proportion of local authority maintained secondary schools in deficit has nearly trebled, with more than 60 per cent spending more than their income in 2016-17.

The 2018 Academies Benchmark Report revealed that 55 per cent of the 450 academy trusts audited up to August 2017 were in deficit. No school is immune. Primary and Secondary, Academy and Local Authority, mainstream and specialist; the entire state-funded school system is rapidly heading towards insolvency.

And the cuts are beginning to have an impact on children and education.

Horrifyingly, 65 per cent of school leaders ‘strongly agree’ that cut backs have already had a negative impact on the performance of their school.

In the last General Election campaign, school funding was a key issue on the doorstep. It is clear that parents will not tolerate school standards slipping and that they are concerned for their children’s future. The Government’s only option now is to find more money for schools, as they are doing for the NHS.

Paul Whiteman

General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT