Budget plans add ‘insult to injury’ for state schools

Plans for the new budget were delivered by Philip Hammond today, and many are distressed by the £400m boost to education for ‘little extras’

Philip Hammond delivered his plans for the budget yesterday afternoon; he stated that austerity is “finally coming to an end” and upgraded the 2018 growth forecast from 1.3% to 1.6%.

Much to the chagrin of many school workers and unions, Hammond’s only mention of what schools will receive is a £400m “bonus” to help schools buy “the little extras they need”, despite the requests of various unions to offer more.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said of this news:

“To suggest that all schools need is a nominal sum to fund the ‘little extras’ when schools have faced years of real terms cuts to their budgets and teachers are thousands of pounds worse off from years of real terms pay cuts is deeply insulting and disingenuous.

“A modest one-off capital payment to schools will not help schools continue to meet the increasingly complex needs of children and young people and ensure that pupils have the resources they need to learn.

“By failing to address the issue of teachers’ pay, many more teachers will be lost to the profession and the education of children and young people will continue to suffer.

“It is clear that this government still has its head in the sand over the crisis it has created in education.

“‘Austerity is coming to an end’ the chancellor claimed today. Tell that to the children, young people and the schools workforce for whom today’s budget added insult to injury.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, added:

“The chancellor has shown in this budget the depth of his ignorance on school funding. Schools have a £2 billion shortfall in funding a year – which is set to get worse. Capital funding has been cut by a third. A £400m one-off payment for ‘little extras’ will do nothing to address this.

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‘The government has promised more money for potholes than schools in this Budget. Schools are struggling to provide a full and well-rounded education and many schools have fallen into debt – money for ‘little extras’ won’t cut it. Parents, teachers, headteachers and school staff will be dismayed.

‘Austerity will continue for children despite the chancellor’s claims. The NEU will continue to campaign for our schools to get the funding they need to give children the education they deserve. The NEU will be meeting other teachers’ unions as a matter of urgency.”

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