Dear Parent / Carers
Along with up to 3000 Headteacher colleagues across 14 counties I am writing to you in order to raise the issue of school funding and the significant current financial difficulties that all of our schools are now facing.
During all of our campaigning work to improve funding for each and every child in each and every school, we have been careful not to become involved in a politically biased or partisan way. Headteacher colleagues and I feel that ahead of the forthcoming general election it is crucial that parents, carers and all other interested parties raise the issue of school funding ‘on the doorstep’ with all prospective candidates.
It would be naïve to think that school funding is the only issue affecting everyone’s lives but school finances are in such a dreadful state that we believe that it is vital to urge you to raise it as a key issue prior to 8 June.
As professionals we are only interested in securing fair and adequate funding for the children that we educate. This is under severe threat and has influenced our decision to contact you in a collaborative manner.
We hope that you will find the attached guide to be of use and make educational funding a cornerstone of the election campaign. The suggested questions could be put to any prospective parliamentary candidate so that we can all be fully informed as to the future of school funding in the very near future.
Thank you for your support.
Mrs Yvonne Watkins – Headteacher
On behalf of 14 counties
Education on the Doorstep
A straightforward guide for parents and carers to understand the key issues of fair and improved funding for our schools.
- £3 billion is being withdrawn from schools budgets in England
- In real terms, per pupil funding is decreasing by approximately 8%
- Pupil numbers are also increasing significantly
- Recruiting teachers for specialist subjects such as Maths, English, Science and Computer Science is becoming increasingly difficult.
- Some schools have been asking parents for additional financial contributions.
- Without adequate funding schools can’t employ enough high quality teachers. Some schools are having to make teachers redundant because they can no longer afford to employ them.
- Schools are also having to make support staff redundant. These staff often work with children with additional needs. In the years ahead there is a great deal of concern that some of our most vulnerable children will not receive the support they need.
- Class sizes are increasing. This is worrying because children are less likely to get the personal attention they need from a teacher who knows them well.
- Some schools are reducing the number of subjects they teach. This means the curriculum is narrowing and individual talents can’t be nurtured in the way of previous generations.
- Many of the extra, wider curriculum experiences are being reduced either because the school can’t subsidise them or increased workload for staff mans it is not reasonable to ask them to keep doing more.
- Some schools are struggling with poorly maintained classrooms and buildings and in some cases unresolved health and safety issues.
The questions for ALL prospective candidates for Members of Parliament
- What are your priorities with regard to the allocation of funding to all schools and each pupil?
- How will you ensure that school budgets are protected in real terms for the duration of the next parliament? Please avoid telling me that more is being spent on schools; we have more children of school age than ever and costs are rising.
- Some schools are looking to create classes of 60-100 children in the school hall because they cannot afford enough teachers. What are you going to do to prevent that?
- Our children should be provided with a broad curriculum, great support and enriching activities. How will you ensure that my child has the educational experience they deserve?
- How will you ensure education for children with Special Educational Needs is adequately resourced? A large funding gap in this area is detracting much needed funds from all schools.
Where can I get more information?
- The following report by the BBC explores school funding issues in more detail: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39302746
- The link below provides the results to a comprehensive survey completed by over 700 Heads in primary, secondary and special schools across 14 different counties. https://www.surveymonkey.net/results/SM-2DC9HGZB/
- Parents across the country are getting organised under the Fair Funding for all Schools campaign. This is an independent parent-led organisation which aims to give parents and carers a voice on school funding. You can find more information here www.fairfundingforallschools.org