More money for schools would be ‘warmly welcomed’ if Boris Johnson follows through on a pledge to increase education spending, according to one Horsham headteacher.
The new Prime Minister has announced £4.6billion of extra funds for school budgets, but education unions argue that £12.6bn by 2023 is needed to totally reverse previous cuts to spending.
Jules White, headteacher of Horsham’s Tanbridge House School and the leading figure of the WorthLess? campaign for fairer funding, described how a new Government ‘can bring fresh hope to schools and families’.
He described how an immediate £4.6bn extra for schools would be ‘warmly welcomed’ and an ‘excellent start’, but this would only put schools back to where they were in 2010 in terms of funding, according to the independent IFS.
Mr White said: “If, however, such a pledge comes with time constraints and there isn’t absolute certainty that we will not see any extra money taken away in parallel costs- such as wages, pensions and other levies - then it will count for much, much less.”
He described how all school leaders wanted straight commitments so they could get on with their jobs properly and would be informing parents accurately and clearly about what Mr Johnson actually provides.
Schools also needed to understand their obligations relating to social care and police work and if they are ‘continually forced to cover for these services as well we need funding for that’.
Mr White added: “£12bn by 2023 is what we need. To coin a phrase. ‘No ifs and no buts’.”
The new education secretary is Gavin Williamson, who was sacked as defence secretary earlier this year by outgoing PM Theresa May.
He replaces Damian Hinds.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “It is vital that Boris Johnson looks again at his proposals and takes heed of our broad coalition’s comprehensive analysis.
“It is clear he and his party still do not fully understand the scale of the crisis facing schools. The needs of schools will grow significantly by 2022/23 because of the large rise in pupil numbers and higher school costs.
“Unfortunately, the sums he is proposing are not sufficient to cope with this – so, as he said himself, it’s time to end the leadership campaign slogans and begin the real hard work.”
Earlier this month a report from the House of Commons Education Select Committee described how funding had not kept pace with the rising demands placed on schools and colleges.
The committee’s inquiry found that, as well as coping with growing pupil numbers and rising costs, schools were increasingly being asked to cover extra services – such as mental health, social issues and more complex special educational needs and disabilities provision without the adequate resources to do so.