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Schools cut teaching posts due to financial constraints

Research finds that schools are having to reduce staffing numbers because of cuts to budgets

Published on 12th February 2018

Cuts in school funding are resulting in a large reduction in the number of secondary school teachers, teaching assistants and support staff in schools in England, according to research.

The latest School Cuts research published by the School Cuts alliance of education unions, found that while schools have been trying to protect pupils from cuts to budgets, they are now affecting frontline teaching.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Schools have had to make substantial budget cuts because of Government underfunding and this impacts on staffing numbers as staffing makes up the majority of their expenditure. As a result they are less able to give individual support to children, they cannot sustain a full range of curriculum options, and class sizes are rising. This is most damaging to children who need extra support and whose parents cannot afford to supplement their education with activities outside school. If the government is to live up to its promise to improve social mobility, it must give schools the funding that they need.”

Government figures show that staff numbers in secondary schools have fallen by 15,000 between 2014/15 and 2016/17 despite having 4,500 more pupils to teach. This equates to an average loss of 5.5 staff members in each school since 2015; in practical terms this means 2.4 fewer classroom teachers, 1.6 fewer teaching assistants and 1.5 fewer support staff.

The research found that some of the largest staffing cuts are in the areas with the lowest average funding per pupil including Reading, Isle of Wight, Central Bedfordshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, York, Derby and Milton Keynes.

The unions warn that the situation is likely to get even worse, as it is predicted that 17,942 (nine out of ten) primary and secondary schools in England and Wales will be hit by a real-terms cut in funding per pupil between 2015 and 2019.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Our analysis of the Government’s figures now confirms what teachers and head teachers have been saying for the last two years: the cuts to education are damaging for children’s education. Schools are cutting back on teacher numbers and the pupil-to-teacher ratio is worsening. Children only have one chance to go to school. We should be investing in this generation of young people who will see such profound changes during their lifetimes. Ensuring schools have sufficient funding to educate our children properly must become the top priority for Education Secretary Damian Hinds.”

 

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