Unions’ dismay at Budget

Teaching unions disappointed by lack of funding for schools in Budget

Published on 23rd November 2017

Teaching unions have slammed The Budget as ‘disappointing’ and ‘a missed opportunity’.

The failure to include any significant new funding for schools in Philip Hammond’s 2017 Budget has been met with dismay by various education unions.

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said: “In the Budget, the Chancellor had the opportunity to provide a big and bold solution to the deeply damaging teacher recruitment and retention crisis affecting schools. By not addressing the key issues of teachers’ pay, many more teachers will be lost to the profession and the education of children and young people will continue to suffer.”

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said the government had a big political choice to make in The Budget – to invest in education, or to continue with its damaging policy of real terms cuts.  Yet with no significant new money for education, “the government has chosen to ignore the anger of parents and the clear evidence of the problems being created by real terms cuts to education.  Parents and teachers will be deeply disappointed,” he said.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said the Chancellor has done nothing to alleviate that pressure on school budgets. “It will now be impossible for many schools to avoid making redundancies, to continue to keep class sizes at an acceptable level, and to offer a full and rounded curriculum to all pupils.”

In the Budget, Philip Hammond announced:

  • £20m to support FE colleges to prepare for the introduction of T-levels
  • £40 million to train maths teachers across the country
  • £30 million in the development of digital skills distance learning courses

NASWUT’s Chris Keates said: “The failure to deliver a Budget that provides significant real terms improvements in teachers’ pay will further demoralise teachers and make teaching an even less attractive career option for graduates.

“The very modest additional funding for teacher training is welcome, but it fails to address the reality of acute teacher shortages across the majority of curriculum subjects.

“The Chancellor has failed to grasp the nettle and come up with the solutions needed to address the systemic problems affecting the education sector.

“The Budget will simply add to the misery faced by teachers and schools,” she added.

Reacting to news that £40m for training maths teachers, NAHT’s Paul Whiteman said: “All additional money is welcome, although what is needed is system-wide investment rather than a piecemeal approach. The important thing is that young people are supported to make the choices that are right for them, given their interests, aptitudes and aspirations. Maths is important but it is already the most popular A level subject. Attention should also be given to English and arts subjects that have seen declining numbers in recent years.”

“It is impossible to claim that this is a Budget which embraces the future when it doesn’t contain any new money for schools or young people,” he added.

Kevin Courtney said: “Despite the worsening teacher recruitment and retention crisis and the huge real terms cuts in teacher pay since 2010, the Chancellor had nothing to offer teachers or the profession.  Instead of school staff losing jobs or seeing the value of their pay cut, the Government needs to invest in those working in education.

“The Budget has failed the key tests the National Education Union set for the Government on education funding.  The Chancellor has failed to reverse the real terms education cuts; failed to provide new money to fully fund all areas of education; failed to level-up funding to address historic underfunding; and failed to guarantee the investment needed for future years. 

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The spending announcements in today’s Budget do not remotely meet the urgent need for a significant improvement in education funding.

“Schools and colleges will have to make further cutbacks resulting in more damage to the curriculum and the support that they are able to offer to their students. It appears that the government has learned nothing from this year’s General Election when parents across the country sent a clear message that they wanted to see proper investment in education.”


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