A call for billions of pounds in extra school funding has been made by more than 1,000 of England’s local councillors who have signed a letter to the education secretary.

The councillors are calling on Damian Hinds to bring an end to budget cuts in education and for more money in the provision of special needs.

The National Education Union organised the letter signing and it has now been handed to the Department for Education.

The councillors highlight that since 2015, billions of pounds have been lost to ‘state-funded schools’.

School funding issue

They also say that the school funding issue is ‘overwhelming’ and around a third – says the Education Policies Institute – of all local authority-run secondary schools now have a budget deficit. Also, around 80% of academies have a budget deficit.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies last year highlighted that spending per pupil had dropped in England by 8% in real terms between 2009 and 2018.

The councillors letter highlights that growing numbers of schools are ‘overwhelmed’ with students competing for fewer resources.

They also say that reductions in local authority services, along with the teacher retention and recruitment crisis, means that the settlement for funding schools is ‘no longer tenable’.

Conservative councillor James McInnes is chairman of the campaign group f40 and he said: “Our fair funding campaign has given support to the letter to Damian Hinds and it’s pleasing that it has been well supported.

“It is clear that elected councillors are demanding budgets increase and the way funding is allocated be adjusted.”

Headteachers have been protesting about reducing budgets

The letter follows a call from England’s headteachers who have been increasingly protesting about reducing budgets and are having to ask their parents for money to buy basic supplies.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said that England’s school funding is at the highest ever and the government has, since 2017, given England’s local authorities more money for pupils.

He added: “We do recognise, nonetheless, the budget challenges that schools face and it’s why the education secretary is making a case for education ahead of the spending review.”

The spokesman said that the education secretary is aware also of growing funding pressures that are faced by local councils which is why more than £350 million in capital and revenue funding has been provided.