Teachers have been forced to forage in skips to find wood for pupils to work on in design and technology classes as savage funding cuts leave schools bereft of basic materials, according to testimony sent to MPs. The Independent reports.
The “alarming” impact cuts are having has been highlighted by teachers, headteachers and support staff across England who have contacted hundreds of MPs on the issue. It comes as an online petition calling for more cash for schools attracted more than 100,000 signatures, triggering a debate in Parliament.
Ahead of the debate in Westminster, the National Education Union (NEU) said nearly 500 MPs in England have been contacted by their members who have set out the consequences of funding cuts.
One teacher from Diss in Norfolk told their MP: “I am having problems even getting a request for basic equipment such as glue sticks to be approved these days.
“I have pupils making GCSE projects from wood I have salvaged from skips and redundant pallets.”
Another teacher, from Skipton, said her department did not have enough money to buy whiteboard pens. She added: “It is shocking how much of our own salary is spent on classroom resources.”
The petition, started by headteachers in Gateshead, says: “All schools are working very hard to ‘make ends meet’ but this is becoming increasingly difficult and verging on almost impossible.”
It adds parents are being increasingly asked to pay for books and materials due to a squeeze on budgets – and schools are having to cut teachers, subjects and support for vulnerable pupils – including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
In response to the e-petition, the Department for Education (DfE) said: “We recognise schools are facing budgeting challenges and we are asking them to do more. We have increased funding by an extra £1.3bn across this year and next, over and above previous spending plans.”
How have the cuts impacted on your school? Do you regularly pay for class supplies? How do parents feel about having to contribute? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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