The funding crisis facing schools became real for millions of families around the country this week after thousands of headteachers wrote to inform them about their school’s budget cuts.
The WorthLess? campaign group says growing numbers of parents are helping in the funding crisis by buying items such as pens and glue sticks, but more is needed.
The letter has been written and sent after the campaign group’s wanted to meet with Damian Hinds, the education secretary, but was rebuffed because of ‘time pressures’.
Also, the Department for Education says that in England, school funding is currently ‘at its highest ever level’.
One headteacher told a national radio programme and national TV news that she’s embarrassed because she has to serve on a till in the canteen and clean the toilets because of school cuts.
Also, her school can no longer afford a deputy headteacher.
Hours for support staff have been substantially reduced
Another primary school headteacher in West Sussex told ITV News that the hours for support staff have been substantially reduced to help the school budget.
The headteacher says he’s appointing teachers on a lower pay grade because he doesn’t have the funds to pay them more.
He says that cash being raised by parents under the Parent Teacher Association is desperately needed and parents are increasingly making cash donations to help the school because money has become so tight.
He told ITV News: “We have an Amazon wish list for those parents wanting to buy individual items that will help keep the school running.
“Since launching, we’ve had stationary items including string, a bookcase and glue sticks being bought.”
Other schools in the primary school’s area have also created Amazon lists so their parents can help pay for items.
‘Why would anyone enter this career’
The headteacher, said: “Why would anyone enter this career unless they want to do good? My team have not entered the profession for the money.
“But support staff and teachers’ pay is going to be an issue in retention and recruitment and teachers are worth more, while support staff earn little for doing an incredible and remarkable job. It’s simply depressing.”
The Education Policy Institute found earlier this year that around one in three local authority-maintained secondary schools are currently running a budget deficit and 10% have a deficit that is more than 10% of the school’s income.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “England’s school funding is at its highest ever level and has risen to £43.5 billion from £41 billion in 2018.
“Standards are rising and the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their affluent peers has, since 2011, narrowed with the number of pupils in outstanding or good schools increasing since 2010. Our primary schoolchildren have also achieved the highest ever international reading test scores.”
The spokesman pointed out that Mr Hinds meets with headteachers, teachers and unions on a regular basis.