Wednesday 21st June 2017.
Dear Parent / Carer
FAIR AND ADEQUATE SCHOOL FUNDING
Over the last few months, leaders in schools across Oxfordshire have been working with Heads across 17 other counties, and, with the support of our local MPs, we have been campaigning for adequate and fairer school funding for our schools.
This is all about the future education provision for our children, and the feeling is that Oxfordshire schools have seen the lowest levels of allocated funding for far too long under a system that is neither fair or justifiable.
By way of protest, all the schools involved have pledged to send a letter to all their parents at 10am on Wednesday 21 June; this is timed in order to get media coverage ahead of the Queen’s speech on this day. It is genuinely believed that raising the profile of this issue in this way could make a huge difference.
The salient points are as follows:
- The Conservative manifesto pledged an additional £4bn to fund schools over the next five years
- Schools across England are still awaiting a detailed announcement relating to the introduction of an urgently needed National Funding Formula
- School funding – and severe teacher shortages – are having a profoundly negative effect on school provision. In a recent survey of over 750 Headteachers:
• 45% confirmed that 2 or significantly more teaching posts are being cut from September 2017
• 92% said school funding was ‘inadequate’ or ‘at crisis point’
• 90% stated that recruitment was either ‘difficult’ or ‘extremely challenging’
Against this background, it is crucial that the new Government responds quickly and effectively to a growing crisis in our schools.
We are encouraged that, following the election, the media have widely reported a recognition by the Prime Minister that our concerns “must be addressed”.
We remain concerned, however, that the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies recently stated that when rising student numbers and inflationary costs are taken in to account, input of £4bn will still lead to a “real terms cut of 2.8% in per pupil funding between 2016 and 2022”. This represents a huge sum of money.
The only way for our cash-starved schools to function effectively is for proper investment – capital/buildings and revenue – to be made into existing schools. The Government must also avoid giving schools additional money through a new formula and then taking it back again through “hidden costs” and stealth taxes.
Along with Headteacher colleagues from 17 counties stretching from Cornwall to Norfolk and many points in between, we are determined to work collaboratively to ensure fair and adequate school funding for every school is achieved. As such, we will complete and encourage the following actions:
- Make the strongest representations to local MPs to ensure that all our schools receive adequate funding. It is crucial that they use their unique influence to hold the government to account on behalf of every child and their families
- Continue to encourage parents and carers to campaign vigorously to secure adequate school funding. There are national and regional parental groups that are keen to gain your support. They include ‘Fair Funding for all Schools’: fairfundingforallschools.org
- Update all stakeholders regularly
Can I thank you again for your unstinting support which is clearly making a positive difference to our crucial campaign.