Chancellor must announce “genuinely new money” for schools, says NEU

Teaching union NEU has called for additional funding for education ahead of the Spring Statement.

The union has urged the government to not ignore the pressing need to address the problems caused by its education cuts, and has called for five areas to be addressed in the Spring Statement.

They have said that new money is needed from the Treasury and that the Chancellor must announce genuinely new money for schools, not money taken from other areas of education spending. They believe at least £2bn more is required every year just to maintain funding in real terms in the face of inflation, cost increases and rising pupil numbers.

The union has said that school cuts must be reversed. Class sizes are rising, educational opportunities are being reduced and schools are cutting staff numbers. The Chancellor must ensure that every school is guaranteed at least the same money per pupil as when the Conservatives took office in 2015.

High needs, early years and post-16 education must be fairly funded, the union has said. Funding must also be increased for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, early years pupils and 16-19 education, all of which have suffered even bigger real terms cuts since 2010.

A five-year funding plan must be put in place. Schools and colleges need to be able to plan for the future. With pupil numbers rising and costs increasing, they need to know how much money they will receive. Funding must be announced and guaranteed for at least the next five years.

Historic underfunding must be addressed. Schools in historically underfunded areas must receive extra money through a process of levelling up with better funded areas. Fair funding won't be achieved by taking money away from some schools to give to other schools. There must be enough new money to make a difference for every pupil, wherever they live.

The Government must restore the value of school staff pay to 2010 pre-austerity levels, beginning with an immediate five per cent pay increase for teachers to address the growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Our children and young people, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, are being short-changed by the Government.

“Class sizes are rising, but teachers and support staff are being driven out of the profession by attacks on their pay and intolerable workloads. Schools and colleges are struggling to make ends meet. High needs funding is in crisis, threatening the support we provide to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“The Chancellor must use his Spring Statement to respond to the concerns of parents, head teachers, teachers and support staff and invest in our children and young people. The development of their skills and potential is essential to our future prosperity.”

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