Financial woes leaving schools at ‘breaking point’

Around 72 per cent of head teachers believe that school budgets will be “unsustainable” in two years’ time, a new study has revealed.

The research, conducted by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), looked at more than 1,000 school leaders responding to information about their budgets for 2016/17.

Increased payroll costs as a result of Government policies were cited as teachers’ biggest financial pressures. The study found that additional costs in 2015 have resulted in an increase to school budgets of more than 5.5 per cent each year, despite no increase in funding from the Government

It further found that the number of schools currently in deficit has more than doubled since 2015, from eight per cent to 18 per cent this year.

In addition, nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of school leaders are only able to balance their budgets by making cuts or dipping into reserves.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders union NAHT, said school budgets are being pushed closer to breaking point than ever before.

“Schools are acutely feeling the impact of an estimated £3bn shortfall in the Government’s education budget by 2020 – the first real terms cuts to education spending since the 1990s.

“98 per cent of schools are losing funding, at a time when costs are rising and pupil numbers are growing. 72 per cent of school leaders say their budgets will be unsustainable by 2019.

“The government must take urgent action and commit to funding schools sufficiently in the next Budget. It is time to stop viewing education spending as a cost and to start seeing it as an investment in England’s future, and in our children’s.”

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