Headteachers demand more school cash in letter to Hammond

The Guardian reports that five-thousand headteachers have endorsed a letter to the chancellor to demand more money for schools, warning of deep cuts to resources, soaring class sizes and further “desperate” pleas for cash if the new national funding formula is not reformed.

Heads in counties from Cornwall to Cumbria, who run schools with millions of pupils, will march to Downing Street on Tuesday to deliver the letter to Philip Hammond. It comes ahead of the budget on 22 November.

“Often, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged students in our care are being unfairly penalised by a system that is being short-changed. There is only one solution: more money is needed. Along with our parents and many other well-placed stakeholders we are simply asking for the money that is being taken out of the system to be returned,” the letter representing schools from 25 counties says.

Catharine Darnton, head at Gillotts school in Oxfordshire, who signed the letter said “The reason heads are so upset now is that we have made cuts and if we cut more then we will not have reasonable-sized classes or adequate numbers of teachers. With cuts to social care and mental health services, schools also inevitably pick up work that would have been picked up by other services. But to find more money we will have to prioritise teaching over support and what will happen to those children?”

Calculations done by the group of heads found that despite the government’s promise of £1.3bn extra cash, under the new system there will be a real-terms cut of £1.7bn by 2020 compared with five years earlier. That estimate has been backed up by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Justine Greening promised that the national funding formula would see cash going directly to schools from 2020 onwards, rather than through a formula decided by local authorities. This was part of an effort to iron out longstanding inequities in school funding between different parts of the country.

The headteachers say that while the new formula will improve funding for schools that are currently the worst off, Greening’s reforms still uphold a postcode lottery in funding across the country. They say these inconsistencies are down to the fact that how much a school gains or loses is dependent on caps.

Read the full article Headteachers demand more school cash in letter to Hammond

Have you signed the letter? Are you be going to Downing Street? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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