Headteachers in England have been told to endure “the darkest hour” until the Treasury’s spending plans for future school funding are revealed, by an education minister, The Guardian is reporting.
Nick Gibb, the schools minister for England, hinted in an interview with The House magazine that school leaders should see the benefits of an end to austerity when the details of the next spending round is announced in autumn.
Noting that schools had £4bn in surpluses, Gibb said: “There is money in the system but some schools are struggling, there’s no question about that. I just feel that we are 10 years on from the financial crash, we’ve got the deficit down to under 2% … it’s projected forward to be under 1.1%. Revenues are beginning to recover.”
Pressure has been growing on the chancellor, Philip Hammond, to alleviate the political damage from school budget cuts, including cases of schools closing early to save money, asking parents to donate basics such as pencils, a fall-off in special needs funding, and teachers having to clean classrooms.
The veteran schools minister – who has held posts under four different secretaries of state – repeated his view that children should not spend an excessive amount of time on their mobile phones, arguing that a social divide will open up because “parents who are not as well educated” may not understand the dangers to their children’s education.
Gibb’s comments come ahead of an appearance by the education secretary, Damian Hinds, at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) annual conference on Friday, where funding and teacher retention are on the agenda.
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