Hammond must use first Budget to fill funding blackhole in schools

SCHOOLS NorthEast is calling on Chancellor Phillip Hammond to use his first Budget to tackle the funding crisis within schools.

Increases in employers’ pension costs and national insurance contributions, coupled with cuts in support services and heightened pressures such as growing pupil mental health issues have left schools facing a £3bn shortfall by 2020, according to the National Audit Office.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has identified that schools are losing £339 for every primary age pupil and £477 for every child in secondary school.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has calculated a drop of 6.5% in real-term spending on schools over the course of this parliament.

The issue is worse for North East schools where a legacy of underfunding has left schools exposed. Analysis by SCHOOLS NorthEast shows that, on the basis of the current 2016-17 funding levels, our region would benefit from an extra £323m per year if it were funded at London levels, and around £42m if funded at national levels.

Schools in Sunderland and Northumberland would be entitled to over £7m more if funded at national level, and those in County Durham would see almost £60m more cash a year if funded at London level.

Click here to view a regional breakdown.

Middlesbrough is the only Local Authority area in the North East that receives more funding than the national average. However, as the second most deprived area in England (based on the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) score), Middlesbrough schools are proportionally underfunded.

Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast, said: “The Government has to recognise that if it wants a world class education system it has to fund schools appropriately. The education budget as a whole must increase and the share for the North East has to rebalance the legacy of underfunding in this region.”

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