DfE Calls New School Budget Figures 'Scaremongering'

And dismisses NUT and ATL's 'speculative' analysis of future cuts

The Department for Education has criticised new figures produced by the National Union on Teachers, or NUT, and Association of Teachers and Lecturers, or ATL showing the possible effects of school budget cuts.

According to the statistics, our two local parliamentary constituencies, Hammersmith and Chelsea and Fulham, are likely to be among those worst hit, with an annual loss of over £800 per pupil.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education, asked for a response, said:  "This is irresponsible scaremongering based on speculation. It’s unfair and confusing for parents, pupils and schools themselves.

" We are due to publish a new fairer funding formula, and as the NUT and ATL admit, their speculative figures do not take that into account. 

"In reality the schools budget has been protected and in 2016-17 totals over £40billion, the highest ever on record. The government's fairer funding proposals will ensure that areas with the highest need attract the most funding and end the historic unfairness in the system."

The issue was also highlighted in the House of Commons on Monday 14 November, when the following exchange took place during the Education orals:

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab):"The Secretary of State has talked about the fair funding formula she wishes to introduce. Analysis by the National Union of Teachers says the Government’s proposals will mean that for Hull schools will lose £13 million and 370 jobs by 2020. Is that correct: yes or no? [907255]"

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education & Putney's MP responded, "No, it is not, and indeed we have not set out the second stage of the consultation, so there are no figures to base that analysis on."

According to the NUT and ATL, the new figures show the effect by the year 2020 of projected budget cuts both per pupil and on the overall budget for schools in the constituency.

A list of the 100 worst hit constituencies in the country puts Chelsea and Fulham, whose MP is Conservative Greg Hands at number 11. According to the statistics, it stands to suffer an annual loss of 14% or £868 per pupil, with the overall budget being slashed from the current total of £55,505,000 to £47,640,165 - a reduction of £7,864,835.

The constituency of Hammersmith, which currently also includes Shepherd's Bush, and whose MP is Labour's Andy Slaughter, fares little better at number 14. According to the figures, it also faces an annual loss of 14% of its budget, or £839 per pupil, with the overall budget cut from £60,764,000 to £52,138,612 - a loss of £8,625,388.

The NUT and ATL have also launched a website called Schoolcuts, which has an new interactive map showing the effect on individual schools throughout England.

You can read more details on the new figures here.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has been campaigning for months against Government plans that could see funding for local schools slashed, and has been urging parents, carers and guardians to get involved.

They can keep up with what is happening and have their say on the plans by visiting the council's Fair Funding page.


November 24, 2016