UK: Chancellor’s budget speech does not address damage to children’s education of austerity

Education unions in the United Kingdom have expressed their deep disappointment at the Chancellor’s budget speech, which, by only proposing ‘little extras’, does not end austerity measures that have been in effect for years, undermining schools and educators’ financial means as well as quality education for all.

NASUWT: budget adds insult to injury for schools

“To suggest that what all schools need is a nominal sum to fund the ‘little extras’ when schools have faced years of real terms cuts to their budgets and teachers are thousands of pounds worse off from years of real terms pay cuts is deeply insulting and disingenuous,”  reacted National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) General Secretary Chris Keates on the 29 October announcement of the budget by the Chancellor.

“A modest one-off capital payment to schools will not help schools continue to meet the increasingly complex needs of children and young people and ensure that pupils have the resources they need to learn,” she added.

Keates also insisted that by failing to address the issue of teachers’ pay, many more teachers will be lost to the profession and the education of children and young people will continue to suffer.

“It is clear that this Government still has its head in the sand over the crisis it has created in education,” she noted. “‘Austerity is coming to an end’ the Chancellor claimed today. Tell that to the children, young people and the schools’ workforce for whom today’s Budget added insult to injury,” she concluded.

NEU: budget shows Chancellor’s deep ignorance on school funding

National Education Union (NEU) Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney highlighted that the Chancellor has shown in this budget “the depth of his ignorance on school funding”.

He pointed out that schools have a £2 billion shortfall in funding a year – set to get worse –, that capital funding has been cut by a third, and that a £400 million one off payment for ‘little extras’ will do nothing to address this.

Noting that “schools are struggling to provide a full and well-rounded education and that many of them have fallen into debt,” he said that “money for ‘little extras’ won’t cut it”. Parents, teachers, headteachers and school staff will be “dismayed”.

Courtney deplored that austerity will continue for children despite the Chancellor’s claims, and promised that the NEU will continue to campaign for schools “to get the funding they need to give children the education they deserve,” and will be meeting other teachers’ unions “as a matter of urgency”.

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