Congress condemns the government’s continuing failure to take meaningful action to provide higher funding for schools, colleges and early years education.
Schools and colleges continue to suffer staffing losses, curriculum narrowing and cuts to spending on equipment and services. Schools serving the most disadvantaged students are suffering some of the greatest cuts. School teacher numbers fell by more than 5,000 last year, while pupil numbers rose by 66,000. And while 24,000 teaching jobs have gone in further education colleges and staff have seen the value of their pay fall by 25% in the last 10 years.
Congress is dismayed that funding for students with special educational needs has come under particular pressure, affecting the very right to education for some. Congress affirms that funding for special educational needs, post-16 education and early years education must be afforded the same prominence and priority as funding for mainstream schools.
Congress notes that the real-terms cuts to school funding since 2015 are having a devastating impact in schools, with the majority of schools anticipating a deficit budget by 2020 on current funding plans. Schools have already made every efficiency possible and now face cuts to teaching and support staff jobs. This is hurting children, narrowing opportunities and having the greatest impact on the ability to support our most vulnerable pupils with special educational needs and disability. As every area of school expenditure is being cut, school buildings are starting to fall into disrepair and schools are having to ask parents for basic equipment.
Congress reaffirms its support for funding campaigns, including the School Cuts campaign led by GMB, NAHT, NEU, UNISON and Unite, and parent and head teacher campaigns.
Congress praises the campaigning on school funding, undertaken by trade unions representing school leaders, teachers and support staff, as well as parents and school-funding campaigns across the country, but there is more to do. We cannot deliver a world-class education system on the cheap at the very time that a post- Brexit Britain will require investment in our children and young people.
Congress calls on the government to:
- recognise that like the NHS, education is critical to underpin our society
- fully fund schools for the 2018 support staff and teacher pay increases
- fully fund a pay increase in colleges that meets the further education unions’ 2018/19 claim
- announce an immediate investment in education funding in its Autumn Budget to reverse real terms cuts in education and the process of cuts of £2.8bn per annum since 2015
- increase education spending in its comprehensive spending review in order to bring forward fair funding and activity led funding
- work with education unions and parent groups on the deployment of additional funding and a fairer funding
- Congress calls on the General Council to continue to work with education unions and campaign groups in pursuit of the above priorities.
Congress calls on the General Council to:
- lobby the government to address real terms cuts to school budgets
- ensure that the needs of all children and young people are addressed to achieve equal access to a good education for all, including those pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
Mover: National Education Union
Seconder: National Association of Head Teachers
Supporter: University and College Union