Head teachers across Salford are urging parents to back a new campaign for fairer funding for schools.
They have written to all parents condemning the government’s current funding for schools and showing their support for the head teachers’ national Worth Less? campaign.
City Mayor Paul Dennett and Deputy City Mayor Councillor John Merry, who oversees the children and young people portfolio, are giving their backing to the move.
In the strongly worded letter the Salford heads lay blame with vicious government cuts which have seen school budgets for under 16s cut by eight per cent since 2010 whilst class sizes are quickly rising at the same time which is increasingly making it harder to maintain the range of sports and experiences currently offered.
They also say that the cuts making it harder for schools who are struggling to maintain support for children’s emotional well-being and to support the most vulnerable children and young people in schools.
Mayor Dennett said,
“We’ve seen national protests by head teachers about inadequate funding for schools and from parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities who feel their children are not getting the support they need.
“Head teachers nationally asked three times for a meeting with the Secretary of State for Education. The last time they asked, in January, the response was that the minister was too busy though, given the level of anger we are seeing nationally, he has now made time to see them.
“Unfortunately that has not resulted in any changes to school funding and that is just not good enough. I fully support the head teachers who launched the Worth Less? campaign which is now supported by 64 local authorities, thousands of schools and millions of families nationwide. I’d like to see every parent in Salford write to the government to demand fairer funding for schools.
Councillor Merry added,
“We stress the importance of life-long education to children and young people yet the schools and colleges they are being taught in are scraping round for every penny and what they can provide is being eroded by funding cuts.
“We tell our children and young people they are the future of this country and yet the government is not willing to invest properly in funding their education and the support they need. It’s disgraceful and a national scandal and we need to make our voices heard to get schools the funding they need.”
Head teacher Daniel Gauld of River View primary school, Salford, said,
“The last six years have seen continuous increasing pressure on school budgets. Austerity across local authority services has added to that pressure. Rising costs have meant that schools have to deliver much more with the same funding. This amounts to real cuts that ultimately have an impact on children’s education.
“Put simply – there is not enough money to deliver core services to an increasing school population made up of increasingly complex children – this is unsustainable and in the long term will have an impact on society.”
The letter which was sent out on the 21st of June, reads,
Update – School Funding Issues
I wanted to contact you to about school funding. Many Headteachers in Salford are sending out the same letter. Across the county over 7000 schools have also sent a similar letter.
Sadly, I have to confirm that despite intense lobbying of the Government and Department for Education, school budgets remain extremely challenging. In short, schools are still not getting the right funding to deliver the level of education and support that is expected and that our families and children deserve.
Since 2010 school budgets have been reduced in real terms by 8%.
Class sizes are rising and it is getting harder to maintain the range of experiences and sports currently offered
Schools support children’s emotional well-being, this support is being eroded due to poor levels of funding. Schools are struggling to maintain the level of support currently offered
Often, the most vulnerable students in our schools are bearing the brunt of cuts and schools are struggling to provide the levels of support that they are entitled to.
These issues are not simply affecting a few schools. They are common in schools up and down the country. Headteachers are so concerned that we are all working together on this issue.
In September 2018, over 2000 Headteachers campaigned at Westminster in order to underline the seriousness of the current situation. The ‘Worth Less?’ campaign group now has 64 Local Authorities and Boroughs, covering thousands of schools and millions of families. This gives a clear indication of the levels of concern felt by reasonable Headteachers in England.
We know that there is not a ‘bottomless pit’ of money and also know that many local MPs are taking a supportive approach. We must make clear, however, that the current response from the Department for Education is inadequate.
Headteacher colleagues and I, feel fortunate that we have been so strongly supported by parents and carers as we campaign for a better level of funding for our schools and pupils. We urge you to send messages to your local MP and to the Department for Education and wider Government to ensure that matters improve.
We will continue to inform you of the facts and to campaign vigorously over coming weeks and months. In the meantime, be assured [our school's] ‘can-do’ spirit will continue and we remain committed to offering the best education we can to our young people.
However, some have also highlighted that the considerable housing boom and population increase over the past few years has added to the problem and had a huge effect on the availability of school places in some areas. With more homes come more children and those children will put even more pressures on an education system that is already being hit hard. With plans to build hundreds of thousands of new homes across the whole of Greater Manchester in the coming years some argue that it is only a matter of time before the bubble burst and the whole system collapses.
It is estimated the bill across the country would come to at least £2.8 billion in order to just maintain funding in the face of inflation, increasing costs and the rise in pupil numbers.
Those hardest hit have been schools that deal with the most vulnerable students, many of which have special educational needs and disabilities. Support for them has been chipped away over a long period with funding becoming increasingly hard to access.
Photo: Buile Hill Visual Arts College, Salford.