There is no two ways about it: real, per-pupil funding is plummeting. Unless this is reversed, and fast, we could start to see recent improvements in attainment undoneby Valentine Mulholland / July 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
The extent of the problem became clear in April 2015, when schools were hit with a massive hike in employer’s national insurance and pension costs—5.5 per cent in total. They were heading for serious financial trouble.
The National Association of Head Teachers has 29,000 members, all in school leadership roles, and they started to tell us how worried they were about the future. In the autumn of 2015, we carried out a survey of over 1,200 of our members and the subsequent report painted a bleak picture, with 68 per cent of members reporting that they’d only been able to balance their budgets by making cuts or eating into reserves. By the time we surveyed them again last autumn, that number had risen to 71 per cent and 18 per cent were already in deficit, more than double the 2015 figure. As costs continued to rise—thanks to unfunded pay increases mandated by the government, cuts to local authority funding passed through to schools, the apprenticeship levy—schools had to take more difficult decisions.
Even as schools contemplated cuts and redundancies, 78 per cent of those surveyed said that they did not see how their schools could be viable by 2019/20. And then others started to add their voices to ours. In December 2016, the National Audit Office