Today’s news review examines a report put out by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) on school funding, and the government’s industrial strategy.
Today, Monday 23 January, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) published the results of its Breaking Point survey, which details the financial concerns of school leaders.
The TES, Schools Week, BBC Online and the Independent all covered the report, which claimed that nearly three quarters of school leaders believe their budgets will be unsustainable by 2019.
Russell Hobby, NAHT general secretary is quoted widely saying that 98 percent of schools are facing funding cuts. This figure is incorrect, and has been worked out using figures that do not take upcoming funding changes, nor growing pupil numbers, into account.
In addition, the coverage did not fully reflect what the government is doing to ensure schools have adequate funding.
In fact, we have protected the core schools budget, which at £40million is the highest it has ever been.
Additionally, our Schools Buying Strategy and Workforce Planning Guidance, published last week, is designed to help schools to become more efficient by improving how they buy goods and services. It has been developed with the sector and industry experts, and outlines a range of initiatives, as well as practical support and advice, that could help schools to save over £1billion on their non-staff costs.
The workforce planning guidance is aimed at helping school leaders when they are reviewing their staff structures to help maximise efficiency.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
We have protected the core schools budget in real terms so that school funding will be over £40billion in 2016-17 - its highest level on record.
We are also consulting on plans to end the disparity in the school funding system. These proposals will not only see more than half of England’s schools receive a cash boost in 2018-19 but will also give head teachers certainty over their future budgets, helping them make long term plans and secure further efficiencies.
We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide advice and support to help them use their funding in cost-effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services, so they get the best possible value for their pupils.
On Sunday 22 January, the Prime Minister launched the government’s industrial strategy. The strategy includes plans for technical education, including new Institutes of Technology, further investment in apprenticeships and more.
The education aspect of the announcement was covered widely on Sunday both in print and online in the Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Express, Sun, the Guardian and the Observer. It also ran on the BBC.
We are committed to creating a proper Technical Education system to sit alongside the academic track, and are investing £170million in new Institutes of Technology. Through these reforms, we will be developing a proper system of technical education for young people who do not go to university.
They will also give people who have fallen behind the opportunity to improve basic skills and help us address regional skills imbalances.
As the Prime Minister said, we need to make the most of the opportunities ahead. This is why we will go further to reform our education system to ensure every child and young person has the knowledge to progress into further training.
We recognise that we need to help people develop the skills employers are looking for today and prepare people to relearn and adapt to what employers will look for in the future.
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