Cash crisis facing schools as costs rise but funding stays “flat”

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By Luis Ortiz

SCHOOLS ACROSS England are facing a financial crisis as costs are rising but funding from the government has remained “flat”.

Experts say a planned overhaul of the funding system due to come online in 2018 is just too late for many schools who are struggling to do the sums on their day-to-day spending.

Luke Sibetia, member of the education department of the Institute of Fiscal Studies said: “Due to the increasing population schools are having to increase their spending.

“The last parliament and the current parliament have a fixed amount of money to fund schools, but with increasing numbers of students coming in the demand for material to help students is needed a lot more.

“Due to inflation going up by eight per cent, finding funds to distribute to schools around England will be hard.”

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the ASCL says “spending is increasing significantly” for schools.

He said: “Increasing public spending has caused schools to look for more funding to help deliver education.”

In 2018-19 the Government is proposing to change the way schools are funded. The government was looking to allocate additional funds to the ‘least fairly funded’ areas.

The government is also proposing to allocate money for local authorities, but it will take at least a couple of years to calculate a projected amount of money to be distributed.

The reaction to the proposals has been mixed, but it has been welcomed for the principle of moving towards a more transparent distribution of funding.

However, schools in ‘low funded’ areas cannot afford any delay and need extra interim funding, said the report.

When the funding proposals were announced earlier this year, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers welcomed the initiative and said in a press statement: “The NAHT has campaigned for a funding formula for schools for a long time, so we welcome an opportunity to help make this a reality.”

But Mr Trobe said that the new proposals are going to be too late for many schools.

He said:  “The situation is extremely serious, schools will not be able to give a full education.

“Schools may not be able to run for five days a week. They are having to deduct budgets, such as cut school times and reduce teachers.”

Schools are reliant on the Department of Education funding said Mr Sibetia.

He added: “Schools are facing uncertainty due to the Department of Education not being able to give an answer within next year.

“The department of education will look to either increase or decrease funding for schools across England.”

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