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Two-thirds of secondary heads have cut teachers to save money
EB News: 18/04/2019 - 09:33
Over two-thirds (69%) of secondary school heads have had to cut teaching staff to save money, according to a poll by the Sutton Trust.
The survey of 1,678 teachers highlights how budget cuts are affecting schools across the country.
A much smaller proportion (32%) of senior leaders in primary schools said they’d had to cut teachers, however almost two-thirds of this group (72%) reported cutting teaching assistants.
Two-fifths (41%) of primary and secondary school heads said they’d had to cut back on trips and outings, while over a half (55%) said they’d slashed spending on IT equipment.
The teachers were also asked about how they spend their pupil premium. One quarter (27%) of secondary school heads said they used it to plug gaps elsewhere in their budget, most of this group said it was used to pay for teachers and teaching assistants instead. Heads in the most deprived schools were twice as likely to report using their pupil premium money to plug budget gaps as those in the least deprived schools (34% v 17%).
A majority (55%) of school leaders said that their pupil premium funding is helping to close attainment gaps in their school, with primary leaders more likely (58%) than secondary heads (50%) to say so. Of those who don’t think the pupil premium is having an impact, many said the funding is not enough to make an impact, or is being spent in other areas. Heads who reported having to plug budget gaps were less likely to say that attainment gaps were closing (62% v 40%). Many also pointed out the difficulty in closing their attainment gaps given factors outside the school gates.
When it comes to deciding which programmes and approaches to adopt to improve learning, the use of evidence continues to rise. Three-quarters (74%) of all senior leaders said they considered research evidence, with 70% of secondary school senior leaders citing the Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit. This is up seven percentage points from 63% last year to 70% this year. Secondary teachers who reported using research evidence were more likely to report that their pupil premium money was proving effective (46% v 32%).
The Sutton Trust is urging the government to address the funding issues and financial uncertainty that schools are facing. They would like the spending review to take place as soon as possible to provide funding clarity for schools, as well as continued support for disadvantaged pupils paid through the Pupil Premium.
The poll was conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) for the Sutton Trust as part of their Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey.