Stop the cuts to school funding

The government is imposing real term funding cuts on schools by freezing per-pupil funding while inflation and cost of employer pension and national insurance contributions increase. This affects all schools and academies alike. Without further funding schools will lose £3bn in real terms by 2020.

This means that nearly all schools will have to reduce either teaching or support staff to meet these budget cuts (as salaries are the largest part of a school budget.) This will have a negative effect on children’s education.

Please sign the petition to the right. Also write to your MP to show your concern.

Education is an investment in our future

In the News

“You can always tell if a child has eaten breakfast – they concentrate more in class and behave better too,” says Stockport head teacher Mike O’Brien.
His school, St Bernadette’s RC Primary, runs a breakfast club for 80 children each day – but Mr O’Brien fears they might not be able to fund it in future.
More details

School Cuts

Head teachers’ letters warning of the “dreadful state” of school funding have been sent to parents in at least 3,000 schools across 17 counties. The mass mailing urges parents to raise the “current financial difficulties” in schools with all prospective candidates “on the doorstep”. It comes in the week the three main parties pledged more money for schools. Schools in England are being required to find savings worth £3bn to deal with rising cost pressures. Find out more

The stability of England’s education system is being threatened by the £3bn funding savings that the government is proposing.
The General secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Russell Hobby, says ministers should no longer be allowed to claim school funding is protected.
The Department for Education has said school funding is at record levels.
But the Institute of Fiscal Studies says this claim does not tell the whole story or take account of the impact of cost pressures on per pupil funding.
It has just published research which says to keep school funding at its present levels in real terms, an extra £2bn will be needed between 2017 and 2022.
More details

Save our schools

The biggest school funding shortages in England since the 1990s are threatening to damage standards, says a report from MPs overseeing public spending. The cross-party Public Accounts Committee criticises “delusions” in government over the budget situation. Head teachers said the Department for Education had “buried its head in the sand” over the extent of financial problems. The Department for Education says funding is at record levels but the report from the Public Accounts Committee says “funding per pupil is reducing in real terms” and will mean schools cutting spending by £3bn by 2019-20. More info

Head teachers representing some 3,000 schools in England have written to their local MPs and ministers calling for a rethink on school finance plans. They say a new national funding formula, which should give underfunded schools more cash, ignores inflationary cost pressures faced by all schools. The heads come from 14 local council areas and represent 1.5 million pupils. The letter comes as the government’s consultation period for the new school funding formula closes on Wednesday. More info

Tory's oppose funding cuts

More than a dozen Conservative councils have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to warn of their “alarm” at inadequate school funding in England. They are part of a cross-party group of councils with low levels of funding. They had hoped to benefit from changes to the funding formula but now say the funding gap will remain unresolved. More details

Education trust has funding terminated

An academy trust has had its funding terminated following a series of poor Ofsted inspections.
Five of the 12 schools sponsored by the Education Fellowship Trust (TEFT) are currently rated as “inadequate”. The Department for Education (DfE) said it had agreed to a request from the trust to terminate its funding agreement “following ongoing concerns” about educational performance. It is the first time an academy chain has had to give up all of its schools. More details.

Angry heads heckle education secretary

Angry head teachers heckled Education Secretary Justine Greening as she told a conference about her plans for new grammar schools. There were cries of “rubbish” and “no, no” as she said selective schools could close the achievement gap between rich and poor pupils. And the head of Ofsted said too many schools boosted results by removing pupils not expected to do well. More info

Exam courses cut due to funding

Head teachers say they are axing GCSE and A-level subjects, increasing class sizes and cutting support services as they struggle with school funding. The Association of School and College Leaders says England’s schools have had to make more than £1bn savings this year, rising to £3bn by 2020. The government says school funding is at a record £40bn, with rises ahead. I suppose this is due to inflation? Read More

School Cuts

The parents of about half a million pupils in England are being sent a letter on Thursday warning of cuts to schools because of funding shortages. The heads of almost every school in Essex, West Sussex, East Sussex and Cornwall have written a joint letter warning of budgets at “breaking point”. They say it will mean staff cuts, bigger class sizes and fewer support services, such as for mental health. More details

Budget ignores schools

The chancellor has been accused of neglecting his duty to schools and colleges “on their knees” financially across England in his Budget.
Philip Hammond did not answer demands from heads and teachers to ease mounting cash pressure in schools. The National Union of Teachers accused Mr Hammond of a dereliction of duty to children and young people.More details

Schools focusing on moving up the leaderboard

Ofsted is to launch a major investigation into schools accused of “gaming the system” by moving out pupils who would drag down their GCSE results, the incoming chief inspector of schools will announce on Friday. Making her first keynote speech in her new role, Amanda Spielman will say it is “nothing short of a scandal” that schools are entering pupils for non-academic qualifications in order to boost their performance data, because they are under pressure to perform well in league tables. More details

Here’s a link to the transcript of Nicky Morgan’s statement on all schools still becoming academies – academisation by the back door.

A grammar, punctuation and spelling test due to be taken by 600,000 children aged 10 and 11 in England was leaked online – with the Department for Education blaming a “rogue marker”.
A DfE source accused an “active campaign by those people opposed to our reforms to undermine these tests”.
The Sats answers appeared for four hours on a password-protected website. Read More

A grammar, punctuation and spelling test due to be taken by 600,000 children aged 10 and 11 in England has been accidentally published online.
Sats answers appeared for a short time by mistake on a password-protected exam board site, the government confirmed.
It is the second time in three weeks a primary school exam has been accidentally published online. Read more

The schools minister is being urged to pull this year’s national spelling test after the actual paper was published in error on a government website.
Head teachers leader Russell Hobby wrote to Nick Gibb asking him to “free schools from the obligation to use this test”.
The government admitted a “serious error” but simply asked anyone who had seen the test not to pass it on. Read More

Nicky Morgan’s plans to force all schools in England to become academies is an attempt to turn education into a business and destroy the public service ethos of teachers, according to the head of one of Britain’s teaching unions. Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the changes set out in the government’s education white paper, which would lead to 17,000 maintained schools being taken over by multi-academy trusts, contained a “big whopper – that the forced academisation of all schools will improve educational standards”.More Info

One of the most moderate teaching unions has voted for industrial action over government plans to force all schools in England to become academies.The measure is “an attack on democracy” according to an emergency motion carried unanimously at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference. Earlier ATL general secretary Mary Bousted called the plan “madness”. Read More

Labour is hoping to work with backbench Conservative MPs to block government plans to force all state schools to become academies by 2022. The shadow education secretary, Lucy Powell, said she is seeking to achieve a cross-party alliance against the plans announced by George Osborne last month. Lucy Powell says Labour’s arguments against the education white paper are being echoed by Conservatives. More Details

Nick Gibb, the school’s minister, has been heckled by teachers and school leaders as he defended government plans to turn all schools in England into academies. To jeers of “rubbish”, Mr Gibb told the Association of Teachers a fully academised education system would be “profession led”. The schools minister was taking part in a question an answer session at the ATL’s annual conference in Liverpool. More Details

Here’s a passionate open letter to Nicky Morgan from a concerned parent: “I have been reading your interview with the Guardian on Friday, and I’m concerned and not a little bit angry. Many of the views you expressed in your interview, and the related proposals in your recent White Paper, don’t make sense to me as a parent.”
Read the article in full

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been met with shouts of “rubbish” as she told teachers about plans to turn all schools in England into an academy. In an address to the NASUWT teachers’ conference, Ms Morgan said there was no going back on plans to make every school an academy by 2020. She also urged the union to take a more positive line about the profession rather than talking of “crisis”.More info

Teachers are calling for a one-day strike as part of a campaign against plans to force every school in England to become an academy. The National Union of Teachers says there is no evidence to show academy status will improve schools more rapidly than local authority schools. The union’s conference has backed a strike ballot for this summer term.Find out more

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says that the plan to force all England’s schools to become academies was a step towards “asset stripping” and privatisation. He told the National Union of Teachers conference that he backed teachers’ opposition to “forced” academies. Mr Corbyn, the first Labour leader to address the NUT, received a standing ovation from delegates in Brighton. Find out more

The government is facing opposition from its supporters on Conservative-held county councils who are angry about plans to force all schools to become academies.

Leading Tory councillors across the country, dismayed by key elements of the education white paper outlined by the government last week, are calling on education secretary Nicky Morgan to rethink her policy of compulsory academisation for all schools. Full article

Teachers’ unions are staging rallies against the government’s plan to force all schools in England to become academies. The National Union of Teachers has organised protest rallies in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and other cities.Kevin Courtney of the NUT said the academy plan was a “disaster for education and local democracy”. BBC article

An interesting article from David Blunkett, the man who introduced us to academies.

“I introduced academies, but this government’s top-down approach threatens to ruin the entire programme”

Guardian article

I hear teachers will be joined by some head teachers and governors, as well as hundreds concerned that their schools are being stolen, at this evening’s protest against government plans to force all schools to become academies. Unfortunately a Brent Council briefing meeting for head teachers and chairs of governors is being held at the same time so I won’t be able to go. I hope thousands turn out to show the government that their plans will be met with resistance – not only to defend democratic oversight of education but also to prevent privatisation of our schools. Read More

Teachers will descend on Westminster to march in protest against the Government’s plans to force all state schools to become academies.

Members of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said they would stage the demonstration outside the Department of Education on Wednesday.

Mary Bousted, general secretary for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Against all logic, and evidence, the Government is promoting its ideology to fragment the education system.

The proposed abolition of parent governors is a travesty and a slap in the face for many dedicated and hardworking parents who play a vital role in the management of their schools. Not only do they give support to the headteacher and board of governors but they provide a crucial communication link to the rest of the parents. Read full article

“Even more worrying, the majority of schools, including nearly all primaries, will be accountable for their day-to-day running to private academy chains. Though schools are supposedly being set “free”, the chains will control teaching methods, curriculum, performance assessment, and teachers’ pay and promotion. Local councils have never enjoyed such wide-ranging powers.” Full article on the Guardian

This week, Nicky “I’m not Michael Gove, Honest” Morgan and her chum George “I’m not Satan, Honest” Osborne, announced that every school in England would be forced to become an academy by 2022. This has proved, to put it mildly, a little controversial. Opponents of academization, both forced and unforced, have generated a petition of more than 100,000 signatures already, while unions, teachers, politicians and Mumsnet(!) have united in fairly vitriolic opposition. Full article

Job applicants who a few years ago wouldn’t even have been offered an interview are today teaching in schools, as the strain of the recruitment crisis filters through the education system to its most vulnerable and most crucial: the pupils. Full article in the Guardian

Requiring all schools in England to adopt plans to become academies in the next six years is “risky”, a national body representing many of them says.

Fasna, which represents self-governing schools and academies, questioned whether there was capacity to “execute that policy effectively” Full article at the BBC

Labour says it has identified a £560m “black hole” in the government’s plan to force all schools in England to become academies. The plan was outlined in the Budget on Wednesday, with details set out on Thursday. Labour’s shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said ministers’ failure to fully fund the plan would leave schools “further out of pocket”. BBC News

England’s largest academy chains have “serious weaknesses” as bad as the local authorities they were intended to replace, Sir Michael Wilshaw has told the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, in strong criticism of the government’s flagship school improvement programme. Story from the Guardian.

By announcing that all schools will be expected to become academies, George Osborne has foretold the death of local authority involvement in education. Five good reasons why schools should remain under Local Education Authority control.

According to this “National Audit Office report, the case for Academies is not proven. “there are significant gaps in the Department’s understanding of what works, and the information it has about some important aspects of school performance is limited.”

The UK Government will reorganise all schools into academy chains. There is no evidence to suggest this will bring improvements to children’s education. The Local Authority model is very successful. Please see the points below.

  • Money currently given to local authorities will be redirected to academy chains (Funding will start to be removed in 2016/17). To do this, the government will remove the 1998 Education Act .
  • The best performing schools are Local Authority funded community, voluntary aided and foundation schools. (41% of secondary schools and 82% of primary schools in England are not academies.)
  • The most efficient means of providing services for schools is through Local Authorities.
  • There is no evidence that forcing a school to be an academy improves academic performance.
  • Academies are controlled from Westminster and don’t reflect the needs of local communities.
  • Unregulated pay in academies has been highlighted by Sir Michael Wilshaw (Head of Ofsted) as a “concern”.
  • Academies can be selective and cherry pick pupils.
  • Academies do not have to employ qualified teachers so the quality of teaching and learning can suffer.