Weighing up the costs: School budgets stretched to breaking point.


At the moment, across the UK there are head teachers staring at their budgets, wondering how on earth they are going to make ends meet. There will be cuts and redundancies, and possibly even the decision to run on a deficit in the hope that it will be cleared when the new funding formula kicks in.

Last year George Osborne, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the nation that he would inject £10bn into schools’ budgets, on top of protecting them in real terms. However, those who work in education, are saying that budgets have not kept up with inflation. Expenditure per pupil is due to drop by 8% over the next five years. On top of this there are rising costs associated with the education system; such as teachers pensions, and an increase in pupil numbers. All the while, day to day costs have supposedly been protected.  

It is a huge irony that measures which are supposed to improve working conditions for teachers, such as a mandatory increase in employer pension contributions, have meant that some staff have had to be laid off. The ‘lucky’ members of staff have agreed to work for less money, just so that they can keep their job.

One of the main reasons that some schools are struggling, and others are not, is the huge discrepancy in the amount of funding allocated to each pupil, under the current funding model. The range of funding means that some schools have £3,500 extra per pupil. The new funding model aims to balance this out, although the implementation of this has been delayed (for at least 1yr) by the recent cabinet reshuffle. As mentioned previously, some schools have made the decision to run on a deficit in the hope that the new funding will wipe this out, the delay in this has resulted in them going cap in hand to local government asking for handouts to cover them until the new funding kicks in.

Has your school been affected by the delay in funding? Would you work for less to retain your job? Let us know in the comment boxes below.


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